Today is bitter-sweet for me. My wife is home, so I get to spend some time with her: but I will not be able to go to my friends wake and funeral due to other obligations. He died earlier this week at age 40. Much too young for a vibrant and fun-loving firefighter-paramedic. I pray that he finds rest and solace in heaven. My heart goes out for his family. I wish there was more that I could do; but prayer is what he needs now, and I definitely can do that job.
My reflection today is about Jonah meeting Jesus in the belly of the whale!
Quote or Joke of the Day:
Truths Learned by Little Children:
No matter how hard you try, you can’t baptize cats.
When your Mom is mad at your Dad, don’t let her brush your hair.
If your sister hits you, don’t hit her back. They always catch the second person.
Never ask your three-year old brother to hold a tomato.
While still more people gathered in the crowd, he 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. (NAB Lk 11:29-32)
The “sign of Jonah” in these verses is the preaching for the need of repentance, by Jonah, a prophet who came from a long distance to convert the Ninevites. Luke uses the “sign of Jonah” as a typology of Jesus, and His death and resurrection three days later. Both came from afar to convert and save sinners. Both were entombed (one in a grave, the other in a fish) for a period of three days, to be resurrected and bringing the saving “word” to their charges.
Jonah, while on his journey, was swallowed by a large fish, and spent three days in the belly of that fish. Can you just picture what he smelled like after three days immersed in fish guts? Whether you believe in this story literally, or as a teaching tool for the Jewish peoples of the Old Testament is really not important here. Jonah’s preaching of God’s word as the “sign of Jonah” is the important lesson from this Gospel reading from today’s mass.
The other great person of the Old Testament mentioned in this gospel reading is Solomon, a great man and king. The son of King David, Solomon learned to use his keen sense of wisdom instead of his use of force. Solomon united the twelve Jewish tribes; not by the conquering and military type ruling of his father, but by his wisdom.
He had many achievements that would be hard to surpass, even today. Solomon built the first great Temple in Jerusalem. All the Jewish people were living in some state of harmony, under the umbrella of one ruler. This gospel reading tells us that Jesus’ wisdom is far greater than Israel’s wise king, Solomon.
The Ninevite people lived in a city, near present-day Mosul in Iraq. Their city was so large that it would take three days to walk across from one side to the other. God’s word, coming from the prophet Jonah, resulted in mass conversions of these Ninevites. What a spectacular event for a prophet like Jonah. With Jesus, there is an even greater power in His “word.” We have all been saved by His word, and need to continue listening to, thinking about, believing in, and living His word every day.
“Lord, thank you for sharing your word with us. In the beginning was the word, and it is definitely good. Please allow your word to always live in me. Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Catholic Saint of the Day: St. John Theristus
Benedictine monk, called Theristus or “Harvester.” He was of Calabrian lineage, born in Sicily. His mother was a slave of the Saracens. John escaped at a young age and became a monk. Feast day: February 24
(From http://www.catholic.org/saints/ website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #24:
To foster communion among members, the council should organize regular and frequent meetings of the community as well as meeting with other Franciscan groups, especially with youth groups. It should adopt appropriate means for growth in Franciscan and ecclesial life and encourage everyone to a life of fraternity. The communion continues with deceased brothers and sisters through prayer for them.