Monday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute

 

Monday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July 20, 2020

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry

 

Memorial Feast:  Saint Apollinaris (born and died 1st Century AD) – Patron of Epilepsy and Gout

Book of the Prophet Micah 6:1-4, 6-8

Psalm 50

Matthew 12:38-42

 

All of today’s readings say something about the differences between “lip service and action.”  In our first reading from the prophet Micah the people are anxious to show their devotion to God in some tangible way.  However in Psalm 50 God says that the best way to show devotion is not through sacrifices or recitation of prayer, but by following His laws.  In other words, saying the prayers don’t mean too much when the people are not following His words.  The Psalm read, “Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant with your mouth, though you hate discipline and cast my words behind you.” 

In Matthew’s Gospel narrative the people ask Jesus for a sign.  They do not realize that Jesus Himself is the sign and there should be no need for another.  He tells them there will be no sign but for the sign of Jonah.  Now Jonah is, I believe, an odd story.  In a nutshell, Jonah is a good enough man, knows his prayers, goes to church, but when God tells him specifically to go to Nineveh to warn the people there of their impending doom, he refuses to go.  He then runs away from God and from his duty and gets onto a ship.  God brings up a storm and tells the ships crew to throw Jonah overboard.  Being decent fellows they obey and Jonah is swallowed by a big fish.  After three days he says, “OK God, I’ll do whatever you want, just let me out of the fish.”  He is then spit out of the fish onto the shore of Nineveh so he can begin to preach.  As soon as he tells the people to repent before the Lord, they do so immediately.  Not bad for a city of pagans.   They didn’t know any better, but as soon as they learn of the Lord they convert and repent immediately to save their lives and their city. 

I believe this is an odd sign.  Jonah is the epitome of the “reluctant hero.”  He initially tries to run from his duty and responsibility.  Incredibly after he does his duty successfully he does no appreciate the outcome.  Our Lord says that even as Jonah was in the whale for three days so Jesus will be in the earth for three days.  As the people of Nineveh repented at Jonah’s words, people will repent at the Judgement. 

Jesus, of course, is greater than Jonah and greater than Solomon, and the conversion for Jesus will be greater than those.  Maybe it’s because Jonah was a former “lip service” guy before he was forced into service and became an “action” guy.  Jesus taught his listeners to be people of “action” during His three year ministry, and through His Church, He still does.

Question of the Day:  How will you be called to share the love of God for the betterment of your community and the world?  

Prayer:  “If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”  Amen.

Please continue to pray for the victims of the Coronavirus and for all who are affected by this unprecedented pandemic as well as for peace in our country and in our world.

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