The word of the LORD came to Jonah, saying:
“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 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.
This Sunday the first reading comes from the book of the prophet Jonah. We know that Jonah was called by God to be His prophet in Ninevah, but Jonah first response was to run away. Like Jonah, God calls each one of us to do His will. And like Jonah, we often run from this calling because God may require us to change or do things we are not comfortable doing.
However, as we develop our relationship with the Lord and we become convinced that He is the Son of God, we are willing to do anything for Him. Obedience to God’s will is the key to true happiness in life. Jonah went to Nineveh “according to the Lord’s billing”. This was out of Jonah’s comfort zone, but He was willing to go beyond that to do God’ will.
What was Jonah’s message? He asked them to repent from their sins because time was running short. This was the same message Jesus preached, “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel”. This is not the message anyone wants to hear, but it is the truth that we need to hear.
Fortunately for the Ninevites, they repented and God did not punish them. They listened to God and obeyed. Millions of people have responded in the same way to Jesus’ call as well.
The Lord is calling you, like Jonah, to do His will. What is your response?
Are you convinced Jesus is the Son of God?
If so, are you willing to go wherever He calls you?
Have you repented from your sins?
Are you willing to call others from their sinful way of life in order to follow Jesus more closely?