Jonah 3:1-10

1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, 

2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” 

3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth. 

4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he cried, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 

5 And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. 6 Then tidings reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 

7 And he made proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; let them not feed, or drink water, 

8 but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them cry mightily to God; yea, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence which is in his hands. 9 Who knows, God may yet repent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we perish not?” 10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God repented of the evil which he had said he would do to them; and he did not do it. 

Luke 11:29-32

29 When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah became a sign to the men of Nineveh, so will the Son of man be to this generation. 31 The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. 

32 The men of Nineveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.


THE FIRST READING describes Jonah’s changed response and obedience to heed the word of God and be unafraid to deliver the message that the people of Nineveh must change their way of living and undertake a forty day fast. The king wasted no time and without question led the way for fear that if he did not comply with Jonah’s exhortation,God’s word will come true and the city will be overthrown in forty days! 

Fasting was observed to seek God’s divine intervention. It is a kind of sacrificial offering to win God’s forgiveness of sin and to avoid calamities and seek God’s protection. Fasting is also a ritual act of penance to atone for one’s sins, evil ways or misdemeanors. The reference that God “repented” is understood to mean that God ‘had mercy’ on the people and reversed His intention to punish the people for their disobedience.

St LUKE’S GOSPEL ACCOUNT continues the discourse between our Lord and the Pharisees who demanded that Our Lord give them a sign to confirm His identity as the Messiah. Jesus in no uncertain terms denounces the request of His interlocutors and references Jonah and the Queen of the south (1Ki 10) who initially did not believe God’s word;or followed His instructions or His calling, came to repentance when they personally witnessed God’s abundant grace and mercy! 

More often than not, we are no different than the Pharisees who demanded evidence that God exists and that He lives amongst us in the Eucharist. Moreover whilst we know that there is a difference between good and evil we live during a time when evil is propagated to be good! May our forty days of fast bring about our personal repentance and conversion as we seek God’s forgiveness and our restoration when we shall witness and celebrate a greater sign than Jonah which allude to Christs death, visit to the underworld and ressurection on the third day!

LET US PRAY: Psalms 51:3-4,12-13,18-19

3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in thy sight, so that thou art justified in thy sentence and blameless in thy judgment. 12 Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners will return to thee. 18 Do good to Zion in thy good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, 19 then wilt thou delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on thy altar. 

Catholic Witness Apostolate       Henry R SYLVESTER              

Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days of saints around the world

%d bloggers like this: