Lectionary Readings: Jonah 3:1-5. 10; Ps.25:4-9; 1Cor.7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20
Theme: “O Lord, make me know your ways!”
If this new beginning in 2024 has already got stale, the readings for this Sunday will help us to take stock of where we are in our spiritual journey and guide us in our walk with Jesus. Psalm 25:4-9, from which I have taken my theme, sums up what the three readings offer us.
The reading from the prophet Jonah describes his eventual obedience to God to preach God’s word of repentance in Nineveh. In response to the word the king declares a time of repentance and fasting in the whole city. As a result, God’s ‘decision’ to destroy them is retracted. The passage says: “God repented of the evil which he had said he would do to them…” For me that re-enforces God’s presence in our lives and how God works with and through us.
Paul gives a similar message to the Corinthians: it is time to repent and look towards eternal life, our true home, because the way they were living was not going to last forever.
Finally we are presented with the Good News from Jesus – the incarnate God: “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” The Kingdom of God, our true home, has come down to call us home. So we see the spreading of God’s call to humankind in the calling of the first four apostles who will carry on the work of Jesus Christ after he returns to ‘our true home in God’.
It interests me that Parashat Bo was the reading for yesterday. I find a number of contrasts between the prescribed readings for today and the Parashah of yesterday. For me the most obvious one is a hardhearted ‘king’ Pharaoh who claimed he and his gods were stronger than the LORD God of Israel. We know who lost the battle and having to pay such a price! When we think we are gods we bring such destruction. We recall what God said to Cain after he had killed Abel: “And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.” God’s laws (Ten Commendments – for his people and now for all of us) are not there to curtail life but to lead us to true life. So, Jesus calls to us again: “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”
For Reflection and Discussion: 1) Have you been challanged in any way by our readings and my commentary to see again where you need to ‘repent and believe’? 2) How do you feel called to share the Good News of God’s plan and love for us? 3) Let me consider how important my life and actions are for the whole of God’s Creation.
Bibliography: My guided reflection on the readings.
This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by Bernadette Teresa Chellew, South Africa, Bat Kol Alumna 2008