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(Part 29)


February 20, 2013

Today’s readings:
Jonah 3:1-10
Luke 11:29-32

“This generation is an evil generation” (Lk 11:29b), so says Jesus of the people of his time. What was true then is also true today, even more so. A tsunami of evil overwhelms the whole world. And among evil people are those who profess to be Christians, such as Catholic dissidents who are for abortion and same-sex unions but who claim to be devout Catholics! And unlike the evil generation of Jesus’ time that sought a sign (Lk 11:29c), today’s evil generation does not even seek signs. They have rejected the truth, they have opposed authentic Church teaching, they have aligned with dark forces to try to weaken or even destroy the Church from without and within.

How tragic. The “queen of the south .... came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon” (Lk 11:31a). The “men of Nineveh .... at the preaching of Jonah .... repented” (Lk 11:32a). But as Jesus himself says, “there is something greater than Solomon here .... and there is something greater than Jonah here.” (Lk 11:31b,32b). Jesus has already come into the world and proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God. We have the wisdom from on high, including centuries-old wisdom of the saints and the Church. The missionary Church has preached the good news to the ends of the earth for two millennia.

One-third of the world’s population has become Christian, but the majority of this one-third needs to be re-evangelized. Then there is the rest of the two-thirds that need to be evangelized. People need to turn away from evil, to repent. Given the tsunami of evil, given the turning away of Christians from authentic faith, given the dissent of Catholics from the Magisterium, the situation seems hopeless. But that is also how it seemed with Nineveh. But that evil generation repented! Today we can only try, and try hard, to proclaim the gospel of repentance and salvation. Then we trust in God and look to His signs and wonders in our ministry. “Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.” (Lk 11:30).

We are in the end times. Jonah announced: “Forty days more and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (Jon 3:4b). We probably have more than forty days left before the fearsome end when the Lord returns once again. But that is not to become complacent, but to rejoice that we have more time with which to do our work of evangelization.

So we look to the world that is the new Nineveh, and we hear the word of the Lord come to us: “Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you.” (Jon 3:2). Let us not be disobedient. Let us not be slow to respond. Let us not be preoccupied by lesser priorities. Let us “set out for Nineveh, in accord with the word of the Lord.” (Jon 3:3a).

Surprisingly, “the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.” (Jon 3:5). God turned away from his blazing wrath and they did not perish (Jon 3:9). Perhaps this evil generation today will do so as well.

The New Evangelization for the new Nineveh!

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