Tag Archives: Nineveh

Wednesday, 1st Week of Lent

Lent 1
Luke 11,29-32

The Sign of Jonah.

Jonah, starting out, wasn’t much of a sign. He was just a frightened man fleeing from the task God gave him–to preach repentance to the great city of Nineveh.  He couldn’t stop the sailors who thought he cursed their ship from throwing him overboard. He would have been finished if the whale didn’t swallow him and vomit him onto the shore at Nineveh.

That kind of arrival was a sign to the Ninevites. Who wouldn’t listen to someone who came from the belly of a whale? The Ninevites listened to Jonah and begged for God’s forgiveness.

In Jesus, a greater than Jonah is here. He came announcing death, and then resurrection from the belly of the earth. That’s  his great word, his message of hope, his sign of love for us. We hear it during lent and proclaim it to the world. Like the people of Nineveh we should listen to him.

The promise of resurrection and union with God proclaimed by Jesus was at the heart of  St. Paul of the Cross’ preaching and entered  the smallest piece of advice he gave. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, leads us to his Father’s Presence, where death is no more and we have eternal life. Even now, we make that journey in prayer.

“Now when love leads you– you who are nothing– into his sheepfold, the bosom of the Eternal Father, shouldn’t you obey? The gentle Jesus, speaking of his elect, says: ‘Father, where I am I will my servant to be.’ We remain with him, united to him in pure and holy love. there ‘in the bosom of the Father’ and there feed on love, and love divinizes us.” (Letter 1033)

I believe in the sign
that lifted you up to bless us,
the sign of your Cross.
You are our resurrection and our life.
Bring us to that place you have prepared for us.


God sent Jonah to the “enormously big city” of Nineveh. Three days to go through it. No wonder poor Jonah headed off in the opposite direction, seeking smallness, safe and sound. But God doesn’t call us to smallness. “You kingdom come” we pray; let’s work for it.

In this holy time,

a time of grace, Lord,

awaken kingdom dreams in us,

save us from dreaming too small.

You came to Jonah a second time,


send us into Nineveh

as your presence there.

For a homily.