3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B - 21st January, 2018
Fr. Noel's Notes on the First Reading
God asks Jonah to preach to the people of Nineveh in the east to change their wicked lifestyle.
Jonah did not obey God. He took a boat bound for Tarshish in the west in the opposite direction from Nineveh.
A storm arose. He said he was fleeing from God—his fellow sailors were shocked that he disobeyed God.
Jonah asked them to throw him into the sea. They did this, feeling guilty and the sea became calm.
God arranged for a big fish to swallow Jonah. He lived in the stomach of the fish for 3 days. God told the fish to vomit Jonah onto the dry land. The fish did this.
A second time God asked Jonah to preach to the people of Nineveh. He did obey God this time and warned the people to change their ways. The people including the King did penance and fasted.
God relented about destroying the people if they refused to change their ways. Jonah was furious because God was so merciful, ‘I knew it would happen’ he said.
God said, ‘Are you right to be angry?’
God arranged for a castor oil plant to grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head and soothe his bad humour.
Jonah was delighted God arranged for a worm to attack the castor oil plant and it withered.
Jonah was really dying with the heat. God said ‘Are you right to be angry about the plant?’ ‘I sure am,’ said Jonah.
'You are concerned about the plant, it did not cost you any effort to grow. Why should I not be concerned about the 120,000 people who live in Nineveh?’ said God.
Am I like Jonah in my attitude to strangers or am I more merciful like God?
Fr. Noel Travers C.M.