READINGS for 2007-07-23
There is something greater here than Jonah. – Matthew.12:41
Jonah was swallowed by a big fish for he was stubborn in obeying God’s instruction. He only followed God because he was afraid to die inside the whale. After three days, the fish brought Jonah to Nineveh where he warned the people about an impending doom. The people repented from their wicked ways and God did not destroy them anymore.
Jonah’s reaction? He was angry at God for not fulfilling his prophecy.
Jonah wanted to destroy the city even though the people repented. His word was more important to him than human lives.
We are very similar to Jonah. We want to punish people who have wronged or hurt us.
We want to get even.
Jesus is different. He is like his father, full of mercy and compassion. When we turn our backs from sinful ways, Jesus accepts us in his loving arms over and over again. RosAnn J.
Would you like to be like Jesus or Jonah?
You always put us above Your own agenda. Or maybe we should learn that Your only agenda is to put us first.
Pharaoh changes his mind and decides to pursue the Israelites. They should have expected as much and thus their horror when they realize it seems to be a bit unreasonable. However, they need not worry, God is about to perform an act of deliverance that will be remembered, sung about and celebrated down to this day and probably forever into the future. God demonstrates His power to the Israelites – they should never doubt His ability to care for them ever again. They do doubt – they even sin – but then, this seems to be the lot of us sinful human beings.
5 When it was reported to the king of Egypt that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his servants changed their minds about them. “What have we done!” they exclaimed. “Why, we have released Israel from our service!” 6 So Pharaoh made his chariots ready and mustered his soldiers — 7 six hundred first-class chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt, with warriors on them all. 8 So obstinate had the LORD made Pharaoh that he pursued the Israelites even while they were marching away in triumph. 9 The Egyptians, then, pursued them; Pharaoh’s whole army, his horses, chariots and charioteers, caught up with them as they lay encamped by the sea, at Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon. 10 Pharaoh was already near when the Israelites looked up and saw that the Egyptians were on the march in pursuit of them. In great fright they cried out to the LORD. 11 And they complained to Moses, “Were there no burial places in Egypt that you had to bring us out here to die in the desert? Why did you do this to us? Why did you bring us out of Egypt? 12 Did we not tell you this in Egypt, when we said, ‘Leave us alone. Let us serve the Egyptians’? Far better for us to be the slaves of the Egyptians than to die in the desert.” 13 But Moses answered the people, “Fear not! Stand your ground, and you will see the victory the LORD will win for you today. These Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again. 14 The LORD himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still.” 15 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward. 16 And you, lift up your staff and, with hand outstretched over the sea, split the sea in two, that the Israelites may pass through it on dry land. 17 But I will make the Egyptians so obstinate that they will go in after them. Then I will receive glory through Pharaoh and all his army, his chariots and charioteers. 18 The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I receive glory through Pharaoh and his chariots and charioteers.”
P S A L M
Exodus 15:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
R: Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
1 I will sing to the LORD, for he is gloriously triumphant; horse and chariot he has cast into the sea. 2 My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior. He is my God, I praise him; the God of my father, I extol him. (R) 3 The LORD is a warrior, LORD is his name! 4 Pharaoh’s chariots and army he hurled into the sea; the elite of his officers were submerged in the Red Sea. (R) ’ 5 The flood waters covered them, they sank into the depths like a stone. 6 Your right hand, O LORD, magnificent in power, your right hand, O LORD, has shattered the enemy. (R)
G O S P E L
There should not be any reason for us to have to ask God for a sign of His love or power anymore. He has demonstrated this in definitive form many times in the past. Now is the time for us to believe and get on with being His disciples, living the life of the Gospel and sharing it with as many people as possible. Looking for signs is often delaying obedience to God’s Word. It is not that God will not give any more signs, but we should really ask ourselves if failing to trust Him the first time around is sin or not.
38 Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” 39 He said to them in reply, “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. 40 Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. 41 At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here. 42 At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.”
think: Looking for signs is often delaying obedience to God’s Word!
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Isaiah 31-33
GETTING TO KNOW THE SAINTS
Benedict, the patron saint of Europe, was the brother of Saint Scholastica. He was born in c.480 in Umbria, Italy. At 15, he left for Rome to complete his education in rhetoric and law. This equipped him for a career in civil administration and promised him a good future. Not long after, Benedict realized that he didn t want the corrupt lifestyle in Rome. He wanted to live alone with God ; thus, he surrendered in a cave at Subiaco and lived only by the food provided by a monk. For three years, Benedict fought temptation. The devil would often entice him to return to his life of comfort. One day, the devil made him think of a beautiful lady he saw in Rome. For a while, he wanted to leave and search for the maiden. But upon realizing the temptation, he felt sorry and threw himself into a bush of thorns.
Benedict was invited by the monks of Vicovaro to serve as their superior. When he accepted, the monks learned that their new abbot had a high standard. He wanted them to do penance. This made them angry that some even tried to poison him. According to stories, the abbot made a Sign of the Cross over the poisoned wine. After which, the glass broke into pieces. Saint Benedict later became the leader of good monks. With them, he established 12 monasteries. He then settled in Montecassino where he wrote the rules for the Benedictine order. Benedict taught his monks to pray and work hard. And as a congregation, they offered their lives in service to the people. They taught them how to read and write, how to farm, and how to work at different trades.
Saint Benedict returned to his Creator on March 21, 547. He was proclaimed a saint in 1966 by Pope Paul VI.
Saint Olga was born in c.879 at Pskov. She was the wife of the duke of Kiev, Igor I. In c.945, when her husband was assassinated, Olga took the responsibility of leading the people of Kiev.
During her reign, the queen was converted and baptized to Christianity. She took the name Helena. Saint Olga was the first Christian queen of Ukraine. With her influence, the queen tried to spread Christianity throughout her kingdom but failed.
Saint Olga died on July 11, 969. Her body was found to be incorrupt. This was brought to the Church of the Tithes in Kiev. Unfortunately, the relics were lost in the early 18th century.
A SIGN THAT GOES BEYOND
The sign of Jonah, which our Gospel today speaks of, is a sign certainly in the larger and deeper sense, far more than what the scribes and Pharisees originally thought of when they made their request to Jesus. It is a sign which truly “colors” or “impacts” the life and mission of Jesus, as He identifies Himself with the Old Testament prophet Jonah. With it, Jesus brings to fulfillment this prefiguration of Himself. As He stated, “Just as Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of Man spend three days and three nights in the bowels of the earth.” Jesus is hinting at His own Passion, Death, and Resurrection. The miraculous deliverance of Jonah from the sea was a sign that he was a divinely commissioned prophet, and it validated his calling of the Ninevites to repentance; so too, the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ validated His works and teachings.
In that sense, it was indeed more than enough as a sign. Only that the scribes and Pharisees missed it altogether. As the great Fulton J. Sheen put it most eloquently, “They [the scribes and Pharisees] asked for a sign to condemn Him; He gave them a sign which condemned them. They wanted a sign from heaven; He gave them one from the depths of the earth; they wanted a sign which would excite wonder; He gave them one which would stir up repentance; they wanted a sign for themselves alone; He gave them one from the land of the Gentiles to which His Gospel would pass after His Resurrection.” (Life of Christ ).
For us as well, it is a “loaded” sign, one that goes beyond what is ordinarily expected. Indeed it is through the light or perspective of Christ’s Paschal Mystery that we get to see and understand better (and consequently accept) life’s ups and downs.
Truly, we have someone “greater than Jonah here.” It’s certainly up to us now to “see through” this important sign. Fr. Martin M.
REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you still seek signs that Jesus is Lord?
Let Your death and resurrection be enough for me, Lord, to believe in Your Power.
St. Romlua, virgin, pray for us.
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