Devotional thoughts for the first day of 3 days Lent
- Reading: Jonah 1: 8
As the three days lent is in remembrance of the fasting
of the natives of Nineveh, the Lent is generally known
as Nineveh Lent. This lent has certain uniqueness.
1) This is the smallest canonical lent of the Holy Church.
2) It is based on an event of the Old Testament.
3) All the people who were natives of Nineveh were not Jews,
but they were gentiles.
The gentiles did not dream God�s mercy upon gentiles. There
is a mention about Jonah and Nineveh in 2 Kings 14:25.We
read, �He restored the coast of Israel from the entering
of Hamath unto the sea of the plain according to the word
of the Lord God of Israel, while he spoke by the hand of
his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which
was of Gathhepher� This is the only evidence of the place
of birth of Jonah. Our Lord Jesus has given a compliment to
Jonah in St. Matthew 12: 40-41. �For as Jonas was three days
and three nights in the whales� belly; so shall the Son of
man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth�.
By saying so our Lord has eradicated all chances of doubts
of men like �how a man could stay inside the belly of a
big fish without food and air� like that. Our Lord once again
has established that everything is possible for God Almighty.
In Jonah 1:3 we read, �Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish
from the presence of the Lord and went down to Joppa and he
found a ship going to Tarshish : so he paid the fare thereof,
and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the
presence of the Lord� In Isaiah 23:1 we read, �Howl , you the
ships of Tarshish�. Normally we all either read the book of
Jonah or listen from the book with the satisfaction of listening
a wonderful story. We often ignore the very fact that each and
everyone who might flee from the presence of God Almighty will
have to face the consequences not only for them, but also for
the fellowmen. In our everyday lives, how many times we are
fleeing from our Lord God? Kindly think. Every time we will
sing in loud voice �Ellam Ange mahatwathinay�. Just examine
all our daily deeds are for His glory?
In 1:6 we read, �So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him,
what do you mean O sleeper? Arise and call up on your God�. We
all are also sleepers like this in a way or the other. Now we
must give heed to the timely alarm to get up and call our Lord
God with real repentance. In 1:8 we read, �What is your occupation?
And from where you come, what is your country? And of what people
are you? We must realize the fact that Jonah was the only Israelite
in the ship and all others were gentiles. When the gentiles were
crying to God the selected son of God was in deep sleep. Are we
also not in such a situation? How eager we are in calling upon
our Lord God than the people around us? We must be careful to
avoid such a question from somebody else about identity and
personality as Jonah had to face. So we must adjust our lives in
a way we could enrich our spirituality and link with our Lord God.
We must appreciate Jonah�s initiative in suggesting the remedy for
God�s wrath. It is considered as the first step of his repentance.
He might have been sure of God�s ability to save him from the bottom
of the deep ocean. See the faith of the gentiles mentioned in verse
14 and 16.. We must always have such a staunch faith in our lives.
May God Almighty be pleased in our fasting, prayer and lent.
May God forgive all our sins and grant us all blessings.
Jose Kurian Puliyeril
St. George Orthodox Church