Jonah preached repentance to the Ninevites. He told them, “If you will not change your lives, you will be annihilated You will be wiped out from the face of the earth.” The Ninevites became afraid, so they changed their ways and were converted.
But Jonah was angry. Why? Because the Minerites could not be punished anymore. He was angry because he could no longer say, “I told you you would be punished.” He could no longer say that, which was why he was angry with God. But God was wise.
Jonah ran away from Nineveh. Actually he had second thoughts. He wanted to look at Nineveh from a distance because he still believed their conversion could be fake and God may still decide to punish them. Then he would have his day.
Then a plant grew overnight and it also died overnight. When the plant died, Jonah was very angry.
Look at the concern of Jonah. He was more concerned with the plant than he was with the Ninevites. Isn’t that the way we are, brothers and sisters? From here let us pause and reflect. Isn’t it true that sometimes, we take people for granted? We would rather kill the people. We will say, “Kill the rapist. Kill the grafters. Kill every criminal in the Philippines.” And yet we could be very gentle with our pets – our birds and dogs. Sometimes we can love our cars more than we love our drivers. Sometimes we can be so obsessed with making a perfect financial report, that our love for one another, our love for the accountant is diminished.
The core of the readings today is very simple. God is merciful and God is Father, as the gospel says. Therefore, if God is Father, we should exercise the same love and mercy for each other as He does for us. Jonah missed the point, I hope you don’t.
USE THINGS, LOVE PEOPLE
Jesus In My Heart