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  • Bar Eto briro Dr. D Babu Paul
    THE LENT OF JONAH The Antiochean tradition attaches great significance to the Lent of Jonah, which is followed by the Sunday of the departed priests and the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 29, 2012

      The Antiochean tradition attaches great significance to the Lent of
      Jonah, which is followed by the Sunday of the departed priests and
      the Sunday of All Souls before we enter the Great Lent.
      Jonah of the Lent is different from the other two persons of the same
      name referred to in the Bible, the father of Simon Peter and the
      prophet mentioned in 2 Kings 14: 25. Jonah is referred to as one of
      the minor prophets, but the scholars are not unanimous in their views
      on either the "prophet" or the book.Be that as it may let us
      concentrate on the message which the Lent of Jonah conveys.

      The first point to notice is that the book teaches the message that
      God is not an exclusive possesssion of the Jews. This is the same
      message that is implied in Matthew 4: 15,16. Jonah is the symbol of
      Israel, the Israel which cannot accept that those employed in the
      Eleventh Hour get the same wages as those who have been toiling from
      dawn.However God does not abandon Jonah even if he boards the ship to
      Tarsus instead of the one to Nineveh. Man has no right to block God's
      mercy, be it to Nineveh, or to Jonah himself.

      Secondly Jonah proves that God is on the side of Pluralism as against
      Particularism.This again amounts to conceding to God the right to

      Thirdly let us recall the message arising from today's readings. The
      reading from the Acts bring back memories of the experience on the
      Road to Damascus. Here the messenger, Saul, was not running away from
      his errand. On the other hand he was trying to run it
      meticulously.However he did not know that he was moving against God's
      plan for him. Therefore God intervened directly, as through the storm
      and the whale in the case of Jonah. Unlike Jonah who grieved even
      after the ship and whale experience Saul willingly surrendered
      himself to be made Paul. Jonah had preached halfheartedly as
      evidenced by his dialogue later, but Paul did it enthusiastically as
      we see from the Pauline Reading of the day(2 Corinthians 4(?, I am
      typing from memory after returning from church!)). The Gospel is the
      clear pathgiver in the circumstances for the Jonahs and the Sauls
      that we are.In Mark we hear about the response of the early disciples
      who left their entire world behind to follow an unknown carpenter.
      Something told them that here was a carpenter who could build boats
      for them to make them fishers of men. The Church seems to teach that
      whether we are like Jonah who rebelled or Saul who went against the
      Will of God albeit unknowingly God is out to rescue us, Jesus in
      search of Peters and Andrews and Jameses and Johns, and that is the
      promise and that is where hope finds its origin.

      The crux of the message is that we shall not be judgemental in our
      approach. Let us concentrate on this aspect this week to eliminate
      the tendency in us to judge others by our standards. Let God judge.
      Let us become conduits of his mercy and compassion, and remove from
      our personality whatever blocks and barricades we have erected
      knowingly or unknowingly which go block God's unending compassion.


      D. Babu Paul
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