Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wednesday word, 28 Feb 2007

1 Lenten Wednesday (28 Feb 2007) Jon 3. 1-10; Ps 51; Lk 11. 29-32
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Our Contradiction

The mission of a prophet is to preach the word of God in the prophet’s particular circumstances. Jonah’s circumstance was to go to a people other than his own and call it to turn from its ways to the ways of Jonah’s God.

Jesus is ever more clearly God’s prophet in his commentary on Jonah’s mission. A generation, at once Jesus’ own and for whom the God of Abraham and Moses was no alien, had estranged itself from their very same God.

Their creeping neglect of God and God’s ways made that generation perverse. Foreigners--the Ninevites--responded to the preaching of Jonah. hoping to escape divine punishment. Jesus preached God’s word of the kingdom’s closeness, and people chose to remain unmoved by it.

A foreign woman--the Queen of the South, the Queen of Sheba--had come to hear Solomon’s wisdom. Jesus proclaimed something even more wise, the word of God, but many admired only the person of Jesus and praised his mother./1/

This scene reminds us of Simeon’s prophetic description of Jesus, when he was presented in the temple: this child is be a sign that will be disputed./2/ It bids us to take advantage of the grace of Lent, and in the company of Jesus, to consider how are lives contradict Jesus’ preaching; contradict God’s word, which Jesus preached; and even contradict the kingdom entering our world as we worship here and now.
/1/ Verses 27-28 are part of this unit: ...a woman shouted from the crowd, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts that fed you.” But [Jesus] responded, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it.”

/2/ Luke 2.35

Photo of Jonah preaching to the Ninevites is in the public domain.

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