The theme that runs through our readings today is repentance. In the first reading, Jonah goes through the great city of Nineveh and tells the people the time has come to repent of their wicked ways. In the second reading, St. Paul tells the Corinthians how they need to change their behavior. And in the Gospel reading from Mark 1, Jesus begins His public ministry with a call to repentance. These readings definitely strike a chord with me.
You see, almost every day, I get called on the carpet by someone for being “judgmental.” This is because I talk about sin. I remind people about things that, according to the teachings of the Church, are against the will of God. Therefore, this makes me “judgmental.” I wonder if the people of Nineveh felt the same way about Jonah. I can hear them now…”Don’t be so judgmental, Jonah! Haven’t you ever sinned? Who the heck are you to tell us that what we’re doing is wrong!? That’s between us and God! Go away, you judgmental bigot, and look after your own sins!” I’m sure many probably felt that way about Jesus.
The body of Christ is made up of many different parts. Each of us has a particular ministry to carry out. Part of my ministry is to teach. And sometimes that means telling people that certain things are sinful. I hope you’ll agree that we sometimes need to be reminded what God expects of us.That makes me pretty unpopular at times. But that’s OK. Hopefully, I’m just being faithful to what God has called me to do. There are days when I feel much like Jonah…”Sorry, God, you got the wrong guy!” And every fiber of my being wants to turn tail and run. But I realize that I’m not alone. Don’t we all feel that way now and again?
Father, thank you for calling us to ministry, whatever that ministry is for each of us. Help us to remain faithful to your call to repent. Amen.