Wednesday of the First Week of Lent

(Lc 11, 29-32)

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.”

Repent and believe in the Gospel

The second formula used during the giving of ashes on Ash Wednesday is “Repent and believe in the Gospel”. This formula remainds us of our call to repentance. Jonah in the Old Testament was sent to Nineveh to preach repentance. Jonah actually did not want to obey Yahweh. No! He wanted instead to pray that Nineveh, the city of their persecutors be destroyed! (Jonah was not yet taught the Lord’s Prayer!) But still God made a way so that Jonah would preach to the Ninevites and they would repent!

On the other hand, in the Gospel today Jesus commiserates on how the Jews of his own time have one greater than Jonahpreaching to them about repentance and yet thay turna deaf ear. So Jesus speaks of a severe judment on the Jews who refuse to heed his call to repentance.

San Juan de Dios, our Saint of today, lived a very troubled life before his conversion. He had been a shepherd, soldier of fortune, and many odd occupations before he heard the Gospel that converted him in his 40s. One he has seen the light of the Gospel he gave his life to the care of the sick, especially the mentally ill, as he himself had suffered some mental illness. He dedicated his life for the sick establishing the Brothers Hospitallers of Saint. John, who care for the sick. He repented and believed in the Gospel! May we repent and belive in the Good News!


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