WEDNESDAY OF THE FIRST WEEK OF LENT

March 8, 2017

 

 

READ: JONAH 3:1-10

The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:
"Set out for the great city of Nineveh,
and announce to it the message that I will tell you."
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,
according to the LORD's bidding.
Now Nineveh was an enormously large city;
it took three days to go through it.
Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day's walk announcing,
"Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,"
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast
and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.

When the news reached the king of Nineveh,
he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe,
covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes.
Then he had this proclaimed throughout Nineveh,
by decree of the king and his nobles:
"Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep,
shall taste anything;
they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water. 
Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God;
every man shall turn from his evil way
and from the violence he has in hand.
Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath,
so that we shall not perish."
When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out.

 

REFLECT

"Interior repentance is a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart, an end of sin, a turning away from evil, with repugnance toward the evil actions we have committed. At the same time it entails the desire and resolution to change one's life, with hope in God's mercy and trust in the help of his grace" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1431).  This interior repentance is what we read about in today's reading.  The people of Ninevah fasted completely from food and drink, wore sackcloth, and called loudly to God.  But more importantly, the people of Ninevah "turned from their evil way".  And THIS is what moved the heart of God.

 

This Lent, our giving up of coffee or wine or Netflix is great.  But what God wants even more than all of that is our hearts.  What he wants is for us to return to him--wholeheartedly and unreservedly.  What he wants is for our sin to be swallowed up by his mercy through the Sacrament of Confession. Today, let us examine our lives and see the areas where we need a radical reorientation, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart.  And let us ask the Lord to give us the courage to bring all these sins to him, trusting in his love and mercy. 

 

What are the areas of your life where you need a radical reorientation?

 

What are the sins that you need to turn away from so as to return to God?

 

How do you see God--as a vengeful judge or a merciful Father?  How does the Cross clarify who he really is?

 

"It is in discovering the greatness of God's love that our heart is shaken by the horror and weight of sin and begins to fear offending God by sin and being separated from him. The human heart is converted by looking upon him whom our sins have pierced" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1431).  Sit for a couple of minutes in silence looking at or picturing the crucifix and let the love of God, exhibited on the Cross, sink in.

 

What is keeping your from going to Confession?

 

 

RESPOND

A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

 

Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me. 
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
 

A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

 

RESOLVE

Make a plan to go to Confession so as to fully turn away from your sin.  Whether it has been one week or multiple decades, our God, who is rich in mercy, is waiting to welcome you back with open arms.  Fear not!

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