Wednesday of the First Week in Lent




Wednesday of the First Week in Lent

Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 226

1st Reading – JON 3:1-10

The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:
“Set out for the great city of Nineveh,
and announce to it the message that I will tell you.”
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,
according to the LORD’s bidding.
Now Nineveh was an enormously large city;
it took three days to go through it.
Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day’s walk announcing,
“Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,”
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast
and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.

When the news reached the king of Nineveh,
he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe,
covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes.
Then he had this proclaimed throughout Nineveh,
by decree of the king and his nobles:
“Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep,
shall taste anything;
they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water.
Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God;
every man shall turn from his evil way
and from the violence he has in hand.
Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath,
so that we shall not perish.”
When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19

R. (19b) A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

Verse Before The Gospel – JL 2:12-13

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart
for I am gracious and merciful.

Gospel – LK 11:29-32

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.”

Catholic Daily Reflections

Responding to the Call to Repent

Saint Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

“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.” Luke 11:32

What an interesting way for Jesus to call the people to repentance. Simply put, the people of Nineveh repented when Jonah preached to them. However, the people in Jesus’ time did not. The result is that, at the end of time, the people of Nineveh will be given the responsibility of condemning those who failed to listen to Jesus.

The first thing we should take from this is that condemnation for refusing to repent of one’s sins is real and serious. Jesus is speaking about eternal damnation to the people who fail to listen to His preaching. As a result of this very strong teaching of Jesus, we should sincerely look at our own willingness to repent, or lack thereof.

Secondly, it’s important to point out that the people Jesus chastised were far more blessed with the prophetic message than the people of Jonah’s time. Remember that Jonah was a man who, at first, ran from God and from his mission. He did not want to go to Nineveh and only did so after being brought there in the belly of a whale against his will. It’s hard to imagine that Jonah would have subsequently preached with a wholehearted zeal. But, nonetheless, his preaching was effective.

The people of Jesus’ time were blessed with hearing the actual words of the Savior of the World. But so are we! We have the Gospels, the teachings of the Church, the witness of the great saints, the shepherding of the Holy Father, the Sacraments and so much more. We have countless methods of obtaining the Gospel message in our technological age and, yet, we can easily fail to heed Christ’s message.

Reflect, today, upon your own willing response to the words of Jesus. He speaks to us in powerful ways and yet we so often fail to listen. Our failure to listen leads to a failure of complete repentance from our sins. If this is you, reflect also upon the words of severe condemnation that await those who are obstinate. This realization should fill us with a holy fear and motivate us to listen to the preaching of our Lord.

Lord, I know You speak to me in countless ways. You preach through Your Scriptures, Your Church and in my life of prayer. Help me to heed Your voice and accept all You say with perfect obedience and submission. I love You, my dear Lord, and I repent of my sin. Jesus, I trust in You.

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