Sunday, July 17, 2016

Reflection for the 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Part 1

Monday – The Sign of Jonah

The scribes and Pharisees wanted a sign from Jesus. They wanted Him to prove Who He really was, to show them something to convince them that He had the authority to teach, that He was truly God's messenger.

Jesus replied with stern words: “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign...” He had provided plenty of signs already. The scribes and Pharisees had not been convinced by those, nor would they accept Him even if He gave them a million signs. Their hearts were hard. They had already made up their minds not to believe. They were just testing God.

They would only receive one sign from Jesus, namely, the sign of Jonah the prophet. They all knew the story of Jonah, how he had run away from God and ended up inside a whale for three days and nights before being spit up onto dry land for a second chance. The scribes and Pharisees probably wondered how Jonah could be a sign. What did Jesus mean?

We know, of course, that Jonah's experience foreshadowed Jesus' death and resurrection. Jesus died on the cross and rose again after three days and nights in the tomb. Also, like Jonah, Jesus preached repentance to the people. Jonah's listeners repented and escaped punishment. Jesus' hearers did not, and they would be held responsible for their stubbornness because, as Jesus warned, “there is something greater than Jonah here.” Jonah was a sign, but the One to Whom he pointed contains wonders and wisdom beyond all telling.

Tuesday – God's Delight

God delights in mercy. Think about that for a moment. God delights in mercy.

The Hebrew word for delights is chaphets, and in this case, it means to take pleasure in or even to desire. God desires to show us His mercy. It gives Him pleasure to be compassionate towards us, to shower us in kindness.

The Hebrew word for mercy enriches the picture even more. It is hesed, and it refers to covenant loyalty. God is forever faithful to the covenants He has made with His people, covenants that forge family bonds. God, as Father, shows mercy to His children as He strengthens, nourishes, corrects, protects, and cares for His covenant family. He does this always, and He takes great delight in it.

We, in return, ought to delight in our merciful God, Who so delights in loving us.

(Information about Hebrew vocabulary comes from

Wednesday – A Reluctant Prophet

Jeremiah didn't think he could be a prophet. He was too young, too inexperienced, too ignorant. He didn't know what to say or do. Who would listen to him? Why would anyone care what he said? Wouldn't they just swat him away like some pesky little fly?

But God assured Jeremiah otherwise. He had chosen Jeremiah for this role even before he was born. He consecrated him as a prophet even then, specially preparing him to someday speak His words. What's more, God would be with Jeremiah the whole time, no matter where he went or what message he was given to speak. God would be beside him, protecting him, guiding him, and rescuing him from danger.

Yes, the job of prophet would not be an easy one. It would bring suffering and threats, persecution and trials, but God would never leave Jeremiah to handle anything by himself.

Jeremiah must have been comforted by God's loving reassurance, for he opened his heart, said yes to God, and became a great prophet. His life was by no means easy, but it was filled with God, and that made all the difference in the world and in eternity.

No comments:

Post a Comment