Wednesday of the First Week in Lent
Today’s readings – from The Prophet Jonah, Psalm 51 and The Gospel of Luke deal with the reality of sin and repentance. During this Season of Lent, the Church invites us to conversion; to a change of heart. Between the reading from Jonah and the Gospel, is sandwiched Psalm 51. Of the 150 psalms, Psalm 51 is one of my two favorites. The other favorite is Psalm 23 – The Lord is my Shepherd.
Psalm 23 is filled with beautiful imagery about being led by the Lord to fresh pastures and clean water; about being guided, refreshed and protected from danger. It is a prayer which I have found to be comforting especially when I lose sight of the Shepherd and feel lost or cut off.
Psalm 51 is a prayer of repentance. It is an acknowledgement of sin and a plea for mercy. I have actually used Psalm 51 as my Act of Contrition when I avail myself of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In many ways, I can recognize myself in that prayer.
The Prophet Jonah preached repentance to the people of Nineveh telling them that because of their evil God would destroy their city. The people and the King heard with their hearts. They repented and God changed his plan and did not destroy the city.
In the story from Luke’s gospel, the so-called religious people did not accept and did not heed Jesus’ call for repentance. They wanted a sign because they had no faith. Jesus tells them that the sinful people of Nineveh, because they accepted Jonah as God’s messenger would rise on the last day. Jesus is greater than Jonah and is not accepted.
Today, as we reflect on these Scriptures, let us recall the reality of sin and our need for repentance. Let us ask the Lord to forgive us, lest we be destroyed on the last day. ‘Have mercy on me, God; cleanse me from my sin.’ (From Psalm 51)
- Brother Gus Parlavechio, C.P.