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Vol: 45, No.11 3RD SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME ( B) January 21 2018  
 
he pleads guilty of running away from the Lord. He asks the sailors to throw him overboard. Jonah is swallowed by a huge fish that carries him on a three-day journey to Assyria where it spits him upon the shore. This time Jonah decides to obey God and warns Nineveh of impending destruction. Contrary to Jonah’s expectation the king and the entire city fast and do penance. Seeing this conversion, God repents of the intention to destroy Nineveh. Jonah is upset for he thought that God would never show mercy on an enemy nation. God then poses a question to Jonah: “Jonah, how can you not expect me to care about the people of Nineveh?”
God sending his prophet to an enemy nation to preach repentance is really extraordinary. The book of Jonah is an example of the fact that God’s mercy knows no bounds. Our desire to see punishment against the wicked simply does not conform to God’s mercy. God’s salvific love knows no bounds and limits, and wills that all peoples should come to the knowledge of the truth and thus attain salvation. In the Bible, Nineveh was regarded as the seat of the greatest enemy of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Yet Jonah was commanded by the Lord to go to Nineveh and cry out against it because of its wickedness.
The Jews who returned from exile in Babylon were persecuted by the foreign nations around them. They, in turn,
 
responded with hatred and isolationism. Marriages with foreigners were prohibited. Samaritans were shunned. Many Jews felt that they alone were the people of God. After all they had endured, such an attitude was understandable. But it did not go unchallenged. This is where the Book of Jonah fits in. It portrays Jonah as a stubborn child who wants everything his way. Note the following characteristics of Jonah. He sleeps in the boat while pagans sailors pray. He complaints when sinners repent because he wants to see them punished. He wants God to pamper him with the shade of a tree where he took refuge from the scorching sun, but wants to pour down fire and brimstone on his enemies.
When we come to the gospel of today, we see Jesus beginning his public ministry. Along with preaching repentance, he also chooses his disciples because Jesus is beginning a movement that will continue after him. The movement that Jesus begins will have universal appeal and it will be the disciples he chooses who will take the good news of salvation far and wide. God is the God of all, and all peoples who respond to his call receive his protection and love.
So the question we should ask is: Am I just like Jonah who wants his enemies to be punished or like Jesus who wants everyone to be loved, including enemies.
– AK
January 2018 Readings (3rd Week in Ordinary Time) Psalter Week 3
22 Mon G) 2 Sam 5:1-7, 10 / Ps 89:20-22, 25-26 / Mk 3:22-30
23 Tue (G) 2 Sam 6:12-15, 17-19 / Ps 24:7-10 / Mk 3:31-35
24 Wed (W) St Francis de Sales, 2 Sam 7:4-17 / Ps 89:4-5, 27-30 / Mk 4:1-20
25 Thu (W) The Conversion of Paul, Ap, Feast, Acts 22:3-16 or Acts 9:1-22/ Ps 117:1-2/ Mk 16:15-18
26 Fri (W) Republic Day, Jer 31:31-34 / Ps 90:1-6, 9-10 / 1 Tim 2:1-8 / Jn 8:31-36;
STS TIMOTHY & TITUS, 2 Tim 1:1-8 or Tit 1:1-5 / Ps 96:1-3, 7-8, 10 / Mk 4:26-34
27 Sat (G) St Angela Merici, 2 Sam 12:1-7, 10-17 / Ps 51:12-17 / Mk 4:35-41
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