JONAH 1: 1 – 17; 2: 1, 10
Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord. But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried to his god; and they threw the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down, and was fast asleep. So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call up on your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we do not perish.” And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. Then they said to him, “Tell us on whose account this evil has come upon us. What is your occupation? And from where do you come? What is your country? And of what people are you?” And he said to them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. He said to them, “Take me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you; for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring the ship back to land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them. Therefore they cried to the Lord, “We beg you, O Lord, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not on us innocent blood; for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.” So they took up Jonah and threw him into the sea; and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows. And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish. And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
The Word of the Lord.
Jonah 2: 2 – 4, 7 (R.) 6d
R/. You brought up my life from the pit, O Lord.
“I called to the Lord, Out of my distress,
and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol cried,
and you heard my voice.” R.
“For you cast me into the deep,
into the heart of the seas,
and the flood was round about me;
all your waves and your billows
passed over me.” R.
“Then I said, ‘I am cast out
from your presence;
how shall I again look
upon your holy temple?’” R.
“When my soul fainted within me,
I remembered the Lord;
And my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.” R.
John 13: 34
A new commandment I give to you, says the Lord, that you love one another, even as I have loved you.
LUKE 10: 25 – 37
At that time: Behold, a lawyer stood up to put Jesus to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.” But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the inn keeper, saying, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
REFLECTION: Openness to the Gospel
October 4, 2021
There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25)
The question is very good. We should all seek to understand, with all our hearts, what we must do to inherit eternal life. Of course the problem is that this scholar of the law did not ask this question with sincerity and openness. Rather, he asked Jesus this question to test our Lord. This scholar, as well as other scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees and elders, was envious of Jesus and sought to find fault with Him. This scholar appeared to be concerned that Jesus was teaching contrary to the Law of Moses. But what does our Lord do? He says nothing more than to put the question back to the scholar, asking him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” The scholar answers correctly, according to the Law of Moses, and Jesus responds to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” Thus, the test was passed.
What’s interesting and helpful to ponder in this exchange is the way Jesus responds to this scholar. Because Jesus knew the scholar’s heart, and because He knew that this scholar was not asking with humility and openness, Jesus responded with great prudence, inviting the scholar of the law himself to answer his own question. Though we are not able to read another’s heart in the way our Lord did, we should learn a lesson from Him on how to respond to others who have as their goal to trick, trap, test, and twist our words if they disagree with us. This is especially important in matters of faith and morality. If you are striving to live the Gospel with all your heart and you encounter the “testing” of others as a result of the holy life you are striving for, ponder Jesus’ actions here. Too often, when another challenges us or tests us, we become defensive and even offended. As a result, we can enter into arguments back and forth that bear little or no fruit. Jesus did not argue. He did not allow this test to trip Him up. Rather, He only offered responses that could not be doubted. Jesus knew that this scholar was not interested in the deepest spiritual truths. He was only interested in finding fault. Therefore, the deeper and fuller Gospel message could not be offered.
We should also learn from this passage the importance of coming to Jesus with an open heart, sincerely seeking the deepest spiritual answers to life. We ought never test Jesus. Instead, in humility, we must believe that He is the source of all truth and that He has every answer in life that we seek.
Reflect, today, upon two things. First, reflect upon how completely open you are to all that Jesus has to say. If you were to ask our Lord this question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?,” what would Jesus say to you? Would He only be able to offer you general answers in the form of questions? Or would Jesus see the open and sincere nature of your heart and be able to speak in great depth and detail to you? Second, reflect upon anyone with whom you constantly have to defend yourself for the practice of your faith. If this is your experience, perhaps reexamine your approach, realizing that the deepest pearls of your faith should only be shared with those who are sincerely open and are seeking to embrace them with all their heart.
My deep and wise Lord, You and You alone have every answer to life. You and You alone can reveal to me all that I need to know in life so as to achieve holiness and fulfillment. Please open my heart so that I can come to You with humility and sincerity, open to all that You wish to reveal to me. Jesus, I trust in You.