We have two interesting readings today that complement each other. Our first reading is from Johah 3. Jonah stops running from the Lord and finally sets out for the great city of Nineveh. He goes and preaches repentence. The people heed the words of the prophet. The king proclaims a fast, and God relents from punishing the city.
In the Gospel reading from Luke 11, Jesus lambastes the crowd, saying, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” In other words, Jesus came to them much like Jonah – preaching repentance. No fireworks. No levitating. No circus acts. Just a simple message. That’s the only sign that Jesus would give them.
The message of Lent is that same simple message: repent. Turn your heart back to God. Isn’t it funny, though, how we like to complicate things. Gotta give this up! Gotta do that, go here, go there, etc., etc. Don’t get me wrong – all of the stuff we do for Lent is good. But if our hearts are not being converted in the process, then it’s all for naught. This always reminds me of an old acronym my dad used to remind me of often: KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Father, help us to always remember the simple message of Lent – repent. Through our sacrifices and offerings, may our hearts draw ever closer to you. Amen.
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