The readings of this Sunday speak of the urgency of conversion through repentance.
We are all invited to change, to repent and to embrace the message of the gospel. God calls us and expects us to respond to the call.
God’s call for repentance is meant for all peoples without exceptions. In the first reading Jonah was sent to preach the message of repentance to the pagan territory of Nineveh so that the Lord would bring His people back to Himself. We are the new people of Nineveh where the Church addresses the same message of repentance to us throughout the year.
The people of Nineveh responded promptly and positively to Jonah’s preaching and repented of their sins. The Lord immediately relented and brought His people back to himself. We are called to respond to the word of God that the Church addresses to us like the people of Nineveh. One way of doing this is through our acts of charity, hospitality, sharing of resources and work of advocacy on behalf of those who are in need of our help.
The same urgency of responding quickly to the message of the Lord is seen in the gospel passage of today. The apostles responded quickly to Jesus’ invitation like the people of Nineveh responded to the preaching of Jonah. They left their work, their parents and their former ways of life to embrace the work Jesus proposed to them. Instead of looking for fish, they looked for people to bring to the Lord.
This is the power of the sacrament of repentance where we are called to confront our own style of life with what the Church proposes to us like the proposal of Jesus to the apostles. This should lead us to a change of heart and a change of lifestyle leading us to embrace the gospel values of love, peace, forgiveness and understanding.
The message of Jesus to the apostles and to us is clear and it is threefold.
First, apostles should tell the people about who he is (He is the fulfilment of time. He is the message John preached in the wilderness). Second, they should tell the people what He has done (He is the kingdom brought down to us). Finally, they should tell the people how they can receive forgiveness. (Through repentance and believing in the gospel) May the Lord pardon and welcome us like the people of Nineveh.
Background on the Gospel by Father Chris Aleti, MCCJ
Saint Lucy's Church Administrator