Speak Lord: Call us to repentance


The first reading at Mass on Sunday, the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, comes from the book of Jonah.

An interesting fact is that the translation of the Book of Jonah in the Jerusalem Bible translation  was made by JRR Tolkein. Share that information with Hobbit and Lord of the Rings aficionados and see if you can get them reading one of the most delightful and funny books of the Bible!

The word of the Lord was addressed to Jonah: ‘Up!’ he said ‘Go to Nineveh, the great city, and preach to them as I told you to.’ Jonah set out and went to Nineveh in obedience to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was a city great beyond compare: it took three days to cross it. Jonah went on into the city, making a day’s journey. He preached in these words, ‘Only forty days more and Nineveh is going to be destroyed.’ And the people of Nineveh believed in God; they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least.

God saw their efforts to renounce their evil behaviour. And God relented: he did not inflict on them the disaster which he had threatened.

Jonah 3:1-5,10

Not too much humour there -but context is (almost) all.

Here we find simply testimony to the generosity of God, and to the readiness of some of the most unexpected people to respond generously to the opportunity to repent.

  • What helps you examine your conscience and repent?
  • When did you most recently make confession and why?

Photograph is of a detail of an early Christian sarcophagus in the Musée départemental Arles antique. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.