When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be to this generation.
The queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here! The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here!
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
The father of Ann Grosmaire sat at his daughter’s bedside after she had been shot by her boyfriend. Although she was unconscious and near death, he thought she said “forgive him.” He said “no,” but he kept hearing the same words from her. He later said, “I realized it was not just Ann asking me to forgive Connor, it was Jesus Christ.” Ann died later that week, but this began an amazing story of love and healing for two families. (New York Times Magazine)
In the first reading today we have the story of Jonah announcing to the Ninevites that they must repent or be overthrown. Much to his surprise, they do repent. Is this a story of repentance or of God’s forgiving love?
In the first week of the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius has us consider our own sinfulness and how it causes evil and disorder. We pray for the grace of a growing and intense sorrow. St. Ignatius also has us consider how the whole world manifests how much God loves and forgives us. Yes, we are loved sinners whom God will never stop loving.
We might ask a “chicken and egg” question: What comes first, repentance or forgiving love?
—David McNulty, Provincial Assistant for Advancement, Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits
Lord, we are full of gratitude and amazement that you seek us with a forgiving heart. Direct our eyes to your eyes on the cross. In that sacred space may we experience the intensity of your love and your plea to stay close by your side. And should we fight against forgiving another, we ask but one thing. Let your eyes become our eyes.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team