The Sign of Jonah
Poor Jonah. He tried with all his might to escape God’s command to warn the Ninevites about their impending doom. When he finally obeyed, the Ninevites repented, God relented, and they were saved. But Jonah did not rejoice for their salvation. He pouted.
Jonah was not a particularly admirable prophet. Was he a persuasive one? All he did was cry out to the Ninevites across their exceedingly large city: “Forty days more, and Nineveh will be overthrown!” Of course, it wasn’t Jonah’s skill as a prophet that saved the Ninevites, it was their own open heart.
Jesus was the most admirable of prophets and a divine teacher as well. He did not merely shout warnings to His people, He performed miracles among them. But still the skeptical demanded a sign. He replied: “You skeptics will receive only a warning, like the warning Jonah gave the Ninevites. The Ninevites heard Jonah and believed him, just as people from distant lands heard and believed Solomon. You have in me something greater than Jonah or Solomon, and if you do not believe, you will be judged accordingly.”
I do not know whether it was a “sign” that planted Christ deep in my heart. But we ignore God’s signs at our peril. And we pray in Lent:
“Cast me not away from your presence
and take not your holy Spirit from me.
Give me the joy of your saving help again
and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.”
Links to the appointed readings and prayer for today: