The first reading of today is a good example of what we heard in yesterday’s reading, viz. that the word that goes from the mouth of the Lord does not return to him empty but succeeds in what it was meant to do. Go orders Jonah. He obeys him. He warns the destruction of the city. People believe in God’s word uttered through Jonah. They fast, put on sackcloth and repent.
The king too responds positively to the word of God. As soon as the word of God reaches him, he rises from his throne, takes off his robe, puts on sackcloth and sits down in ashes. The people together with their king call on god with all their might. They look forward to the Lord to relent. When God sees their repentant, contrite hearts, He relents and change of heart takes place in them. The disaster that was threatened is now averted. This is an example of how when the word of God is responded to positively there is conversion, change, transformation of one’s life. Indeed is our response to God’s word: A humbled contrite heart, O God, you will not spurn.
We too are given these forty days of Lent to bring about the much needed change of heart. Fasting, prayer and almsgiving are the traditional means that are offered to us.
The second attitude of the Ninevites was their willingness to recognize their sinfulness and the subsequent desire to change. Conversion of the heart must be brought about that accepting that e are sinners which will give rise to the desire to change.
Thirdly, the word of God says, ‘God saw their efforts to renounce their evil behavior, and God relented”. Their actions indicated their change of heart. The same is true of us. Faith alone is insufficient. Faith must ensue good works, good behavior good actions.
We are all sinners in need of God’s mercy. And his mercy is available just for our asking. He is never tired of forgiving, but we may be tired of asking. He is never tired of forgiving, but we may be tired of asking for mercy. We ask for the grace of never tiring of asking forgiveness, for he never tires of forgiving.
Ask yourself, do I sincerely desire a change of heart, transformation of my life? Do I live the attitudes that the king of Ninenveh and the Ninevites lived? What concrete actions will I undertake that will manifest this change of heart in me?
God Bless. Have a blessed day.