Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday of the First Week in Lent

(Jonah 3:1-10; Luke 11:29-32)

A doctor recently commented on public radio how some asthmatic patients cannot forego having their cats in bed with them. Although they are hypersensitive to cat allergens and may die of an allergic reaction, the animals give them such comfort that they are considered like a spouse or a child. In the first reading today we see other animals taking on human dimensions.

In the reformation of Nineveh with Jonah’s preaching the king declares that both man and beast shall fast and wear sackcloth. It is humorous to imagine cats and dogs much less cows and sheep being dressed in rags to show the earnestness of the people to change their lives. We know now that the story is fictitious, but its purpose is definitely prophetic. It was written to teach Israelites that God will show mercy on all people who take His call for reform to heart.

Whether it means giving up pornography or beginning to pray regularly, reform is difficult. We have to keep in sight the end we desire if we are to accomplish it. We should consider the season of Lent as a special offer that not only calls us to reform but puts Easter on the horizon. In these ways we are inclined to make the necessary changes to rise with Christ.