Wednesday of the First Week
Lord, I offer you my country, asking that you make it a force for good in the world. Paul Nicholson SJ
Entering into prayer
The Jesus Prayer is one of the most famous mantras. Listen to each phrase and then add your voice to it . . . Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me, a sinner . . . Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me, a sinner . . . Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me, a sinner . . . continue on your own with this . . . the phrase may shorten naturally . . .
Today's Scripture (Jonah 3:1-10)
The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, ‘Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.’ So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, ‘Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!’ And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.
When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. Then he had a proclamation made in Nineveh: ‘By the decree of the king and his nobles: No human being or animal, no herd or flock, shall taste anything. They shall not feed, nor shall they drink water. Human beings and animals shall be covered with sackcloth, and they shall cry mightily to God. All shall turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their hands. Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish.’
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.
Food for Thought
God threatens the city of Nineveh with a disaster, one which is avoided because the people of the city begin to believe in God, thanks to the arrival of Jonah.They show repentance for their bad conduct by fasting and wearing sackcloth.The writer adds an important detail, that everyone from the greatest to the least of them, even the king himself, demonstrates this change of heart. In the same way, Jesus is a sign for his generation. His arrival must prompt our change of heart, a change which takes place not just among ordinary people but among the highest levels of society.
For us that means that we must involve ourselves in the political process, in our society and our local community.That way we too, by the lives we lead, may become a sign for our own generation.
Suggestions for Prayer
During St Ignatius’ recuperation after his injury in the battle at Pamplona, he spent a long time just daydreaming. On the one hand he dreamed about the great saints and on the other hand about tales of chivalry. He discovered that his daydreams about the saints brought deeper consolation.
Have a go at daydreaming yourself. Make two lists of people in our own world. The first is a list of ten people who are famous or powerful but do not leave you feeling inspired, and the second is of ten people who may or may not be famous, but leave you feeling as though you would want to be like them. What is the difference between these two lists? Note down the character traits of the two groups of people.What might those character traits tell you about yourself and who you are called to be? Take it to the Lord in your prayer.
How are you going to respond today?
Today, find one way to be involved politically, either by reading about a social issue, participating in a political event, or bringing your politics into a conversation at home or at work.
Image for the day
- Does this help you imagine Ninevah, or do different images come to mind?
- When have you asked for God’s forgiveness?
What do you think it felt like to be Jonah?
Examen (review of prayer)
An ecological examen
All creation reflects the beauty and blessing of God’s image. Where was I most aware of this today? Can I identify how I made a conscious effort to care for God’s creation during this day? What challenges or joys do I experience as I recall may care for creation? How can I repair breaks in my relationship with creation, in my unspoken sense of superiority? As I imagine tomorrow, I ask for the grace to see the Incarnate Christ in the dynamic interconnectedness of all creation. (Joseph Carver SJ)