While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus 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.”
Greetings from Northwestern University! Today’s reading requires a bit of historical background – who is Jonah, and who is Solomon? Jonah was a prophet who was sent by God to a town called Nineveh, but when asked by God to criticize a sinful town named Nineveh and encourage them to repent, Jonah refused God’s orders. Solomon was a King of Israel whose sin and idolatry led to the Israel nation being split into two.
As Catholics, we always ask each other every Lenten season what we’re giving up. However, I encourage you to do more than just give something up this Lenten season. Take 10 minutes after reading today’s passage, and brainstorm three actions you can take over the rest of Lent that you believe God has wanted you to do for some time. Perhaps you haven’t prayed much lately, or you haven’t done community service in a long time. Maybe you don’t go to church very often.
God has a plan for you. The Lord wants you to be the best person you can be. Take today’s reading, and know in your heart that God is behind you with every step you take. Jesus was a human being, just like Jonah, Solomon, you, and me. Jesus wasn’t perfect, and neither is anyone else. As human beings, we don’t have to be perfect, but perfection is irrelevant when compared to the beauty of love.
Try to come up with one person in your life that you think deserves more love. I want you to reach out to this person sometime within the next few days if possible – ask them how their day is going. Be willing to listen to them. One of the greatest acts of love we can do as Catholics is simply to listen to another person. If you take the time to listen to this one person, you can build a habit of listening and understanding others. That is what Lent is all about. Lent is a time of building good habits that follow in Jesus’ footsteps, not just a time of sacrificing 40 days without Diet Coke.
My prayers and blessings to all of the Viatorian community as this Lenten season continues. Adored and loved be Jesus indeed!