Homily for Mass – Deschatelets Residence

Wednesday 29 February 2012 – 7.30am

[Readings: Jonah 3:1-10;  Ps 51;  Lk 11:29-32]


The Word of God today invites us to compare Jonah and Our Lord: just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be to this generation.  Jonah allows himself to be thrown overboard to calm the raging storm.  Jesus allows himself to be thrown into the ‘sea of death’ to calm the storms of sin that threaten our lives.  Jonah spent three days in the belly of the whale.  Jesus would spend three days in the belly of the earth.

 Jesus has given the most powerful sign that could be given: the sign of his death and resurrection.  His free acceptance of death is the sign of God’s love for us:  Jesus was prepared to give his life to save our own.

 Jonah’s preaching to the Ninevites resulted in their conversion.  “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be destroyed.” Everyone from the king to the least, people and animals, put on sackcloth.  As the Gospel reminds us: we have something greater than Jonah here.  In our forty days of Lent Jesus himself asks our conversion.

 St John Chrysostom, writing in the person of Christ, says: “For Jonah was a servant, but I am the Master;  and he came forth from the whale, but I rose from death;  and he proclaimed destruction, but I come preaching the Good News of the Kingdom.”

 On Ash Wednesday when we were marked with the ashes, and again on Sunday in the Gospel, we heard the words of Jesus: Repent, and believe the Gospel.  In the week since first hearing those words, how have we responded?  We have someone calling us who is far greater than Jonah … have we responded at least like the Ninevites?

 See: http://evangeli.net/gospel