Deacon Charles Seagren, OCDS: Lent – Jonah

Luke 11: 29-32: The Demand for a Sign

29While still more people gathered in the crowd, he 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.

30Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.

31 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.

32 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.

Pieter Lastman, Jonah and the Whale

The word of God came to Jonah a second time.

Well, we know what happened the first time:
when the call came, Jonah hung up.
He ran as far as he could in the opposite direction,
thrown into the sea, swallowed by a great fish,
spewed out on a beach.
He did everything he could to escape God’s word.

But God gives him – and us – a second chance.
Maybe that’s what the sign of Jonah is:
the miracle of another chance.

That’s what Lent is too:
another chance to remember
in a special way
what’s always true:
the need to repent,
to draw closer to God and our neighbor,
the constant need for conversion of heart.

Like the king of Nineveh
we lay aside our robe
of pride and power
and kneel before the true King
in contrition,
in prayer and fasting and almsgiving.

Today we’re in the presence of Someone
greater than Jonah, greater than Solomon.
greater than anything we can imagine.
Bend your knee,
open your heart
and follow where He leads.

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