OUR OWN NINEVEH

Monday, 28th Week in Ordinary Time            

            “Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man to this generation.”

            Jonah is called by God to preach to Nineveh, which is described as an enormously large city. It takes, they say, three days to walk through it. I cannot help but think of Nineveh as one large, modern city – a center of all sorts of worldly activity and affair, all sorts of materialistic preoccupation and business, all sorts of mundane entertainment and diversion.

            What would Nineveh’s conversion look like? A turning back to God as the only enduring good. After hearing the word of Jonah, the Ninevites proclaim a fast, and all of them, great and small, put-on sackcloth. What is the purpose of these ascetic practices? To wean people away from their attachment to instant gratification and worldly pleasures.

            The world we live is a modern Nineveh. There is just so much distraction and diversion, so much materialism and possessiveness, so much fascinating and alluring things that can easily turn us away from God. And because we have allowed ourselves to be influenced and conditioned by our society, we have somehow turned ourselves into a Nineveh, in which worldly wants and desires seem to be prevalent, materialistic hungers and thirsts seem to be getting hold of us, mundane passions and obsessions seem to be overwhelming.

            The Lord is calling us to the same kind of conversion that Nineveh responded to. This is the conversion that each of us must undergo and must constantly go through. We are to live as though nothing in this world finally matters. We are to turn back to God as the only enduring good. That is why we must start weaning ourselves from the various forms of attachment and addiction that prevent us from living in the kingdom of God.

            Conversion is basically a shift or movement from being self-centered to being God-centered… from doing our own will to doing God’s will… from building our own kingdom of wealth, power, and honor to building God’s kingdom of peace, justice, and love. With God’s love and mercy, let us make that shift in our life.

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