Daily Reflection – Feb 17, 2016
Wednesday 17 February 2016
First Reading: Jonah 3:1-10
A broken, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn
Psalm 50(51):3-4, 12-13, 18-19
Gospel Reading: Luke 11:29-32
Today’s Feast: The Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order
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 queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here.
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.”
The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time. (Jonah 3:1)
What would you do if someone gave you a do-over on some important opportunity that you passed up? What about a second chance to undo some hurtful thing you did or said to a friend? You’d take it, of course!
In today’s first reading, God gives Jonah a second chance. When he first told Jonah to go to Nineveh and prophesy, Jonah refused. It took a few days inside of a huge fish for Jonah to come to his senses. And when he did, God happily gave him a do-over. He didn’t begrudge his reluctant prophet. In fact, he acted as if Jonah’s first disobedience never existed!
This is who our God is—the God of second chances. And third chances. And fourth chances. There is no limit to his mercy or his love.
This story shows us that God’s mercy is not just an abstract theological concept. It’s an experience that floods our hearts and changes our minds. As happened with Jonah, so too for us: experiencing God’s patient love can move us in ways that we could never move ourselves.
What second chances is God giving you right now? Maybe you’ve been reluctant to forgive a neighbor or reach out to an estranged family member. Maybe you’ve felt a tug to share your faith with a co-worker but have always found a way out.
Rather than steeling yourself to take whatever next step God is asking of you, try softening yourself instead. And here is one way you can do it: focus on Jesus and his cross. Imagine him on the cross, and see the love that put him there. Feel the compassion and care flowing from his pierced heart. Let his words “Father, forgive” melt your heart and wash away your guilt and fears (Luke 23:34). Let the cross convince you that God is on your side. Trust that he will help you do whatever you need to do.
Pope Francis once said, “Mercy will always be greater than any sin; no one can place limits on the love of God.” So let God give you the second—or third or fiftieth—chance you need. Don’t worry; he won’t abandon you.
“Father, thank you that you are ever ready to forgive. Give me courage and faith to extend your mercy to someone today.”