While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation…At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.”
Jonah was sent by God to convert the hearts and minds of the people of Nineveh. He thought he was sent on an impossible mission. He thought his time would be wasted. He was wrong in every single aspect, for Jonah’s words were not his but God’s, and what followed shocked Jonah as much as it shocked the people of Nineveh: they actually listened, believed and were saved.
This is a lesson worth learning.
Making Progress. Look around, do you really see any progress? I mean real progress, not that superficial progress such as high speed computers, cell phones, electronic gadgets, etc…but real, meaningful and deep progress; that is, the way we see others and interact with them.
Honestly, aren’t we just as superficial, violent, virulent, decadent and as disgusting as the Romans? Don’t we treat marriage, family our unborn and our children as they did? Aren’t we just as meaty, fleshy, perverted, physical, hypocritical and sarcastic as the ancients? Aren’t we as much warmongers as those who came before us? Isn’t the mainstream media like the media of recent past, dominated by party members and a loud speaker for their ruling party? Isn’t the news just propaganda? And do you really think those who rule us really want to educate us? Come on! Give me a break! I see a revolution approaching with the collapse of a dying civilization nearing. There’s nothing to fear. It’s always happened. Nations are born and die. Civilizations rise and fall. When does it start? When civilizations, like people who become so plump and fat, are no longer able to touch their feet (the bottom) and slowly begin to buckle under the enormous pressure.
Nineveh, like so many others and others to come, was falling to ruin. But when Jonah preached the word of God to them, they began to make progress. As the Servant of God Pope Paul VI wrote in his Encyclical Populorum Progressio, “the proclamation of Christ is the first and principal contributor to development.”
Preaching the word of God to people who idolize political leaders, movie stars and even pop stars is true progress. Preaching the word of God to people who will stay up all night to buy an ipad or iphone or X-Box or a pair of sneakers is making significant progress! Preaching the word of God to people who believe everything the media spits out, everything that reporters write, everything politicians promise or every word that comes forth from the mouth of swine is real, authentic and honest-to-God progress!
Now let’s get to work, for there is something greater than Jonah here, someone wiser than Solomon here, someone more beautiful than Lady Gaga or Madonna here, someone more honest than “honest Abe” here, someone holier than the politicians here, and that is: JESUS CHRIST! And if I am going to chase after anyone, then it will be someone who imitates Him, not insults Him.
There is something greater than Jonah here. The Lord is greater than all these things because he is not only the Word of God, but the Love of God as well.
Resolution: I will read the book of Jonah from the Bible today. I will also re-read the Holy Father’s Lenten message from Ash Wednesday today.