Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Sign of Jonah


Not even photoshopped! This is a Whale Shark getting ready to eat!

This is just an excerpt please read them from the link above.

Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day’s walk announcing,
“Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,”
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast
and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.

“This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation...
because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here.”

We can see the link to Lent with the 40 days of repentance and fasting in Jonah and God's mercy because of it. Jesus is angry at the fact that people do not understand why He is here. His teaching is not being understood and He will not do any magic tricks so that people might believe Him. The sign He will give us is the Resurrection, the only sign that is needed. This points to humanity that God will save and redeemed us from anything and everything; but do we believe that?

He says He will give us the Sign of Jonah. Jonah was in the belly of a whale for three days. I like to think this means that Jesus will be in the belly of the beast for three days. So what is that beast that he is in? I imagine this beast almost like Cerberus, the three-headed mythical dog that guards the Gates of Hades.

Disney's rendition in the animated movie Hercules. (Great movie and soundtrack!)

Each head represents something different. The first head is sin. The second head is death. The third head is separation. But the beast only has ONE body and that represents NOT TRUSTING IN GOD. In a sense sin, death, and separation are consequences of not trusting in God.

If we trusted in God and trusted that He has our best interest in mind then we wouldn't do things that offended Him. Sin is an offense to God. When we have someone in our life whom we trust with our life, we cherish that friendship. We would never want to betray or offend that person or their trust because we love them. If we trusted God, we would know that he has our best interest in mind and that we wouldn't need to grab for our happiness because we know it would be provided by God. God loves us unconditionally, it is not earned or loss EVER; He just loves us.

Our God is a God of the Living (Matthew 22:32). By the very fact of creation He wants His creation to have life and have it in abundance(John 10:10). We were NOT meant to die. Death is unnatural. It was never in God's original plan. But because of the Fall, because of man not trusting in God, man separated himself from God, who is Life itself. Grabbing the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was the ultimate act of self-destruction.

The third head is separation. We have been separated from God, others, and creation or maybe a better way of saying it is that we are not harmony with everything. We have forgotten our original connectedness that we once had. We can tell that something is off because it takes much work and disciple to recognize God's voice in our life.

Most of our relationships today are power struggles. Whether it is between a couple in a relationship or between friends, or large nations, or in our VERY Church itself. Someone has to be "on top." In relationships someone has to "wear the pants," as opposed to working together. Between our friends there is a need to be the best or the funniest or the best looking; and if someone wants to do a specific thing that others don't they become upset creating anxiety for the others. In nations countless wars are fought for resources, land, power, money, people, ideologies or whatever agendas are not on that list. Our Church has so much disunity and factions that one can see this very separation so clearly in a parish itself. Not to mention all the "Christian" churches out there causing more and more dismemberment in the Body of Christ.

So where is Jesus in all this? He has come not to capture the beats but to slay the beast.

He lets us know it is OK to trust God and that no matter how bad it gets God will always be there to bring us through it. Since we trust in God we will be brought through it not the way we THINK is best, but the way God KNOWS is best.

What does your experience tell? Think of a time when if you would have had what you wanted it would have been horrible. Sadly, I can think of like a dozen!

Think of your life. What does your experience say?

What does your heart say?

The same God that brought you to this point will not abandon you.

Jesus shows us that we can trust in God and he won't abandon us even though it may feel that way.

Well that is what came out of the reading from prayer and reflection. Or maybe the Jonah reference could refer to the song, My name is Jonas, by Weezer:

Great album!

Pray well!

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