Monday, January 23, 2012

A BIG Fish Story

Women of Faith:

Sorry ladies, this is a “fish” story; the men probably can’t wait….

But unlike the “fish stories” most of you have heard, this is the story of Jonah and the whale and it is much bigger and much more real, because it is the gospel truth, told by God, the real “fisher(of)men.”

The Preface: The Ninevites have succumbed to evil so God asks Jonah to save them. But Jonah, because of his hatred of the Ninevites, disregards God’s call, and travels in the opposite direction. Because of his hard hearted choice Jonah ends up being thrown overboard into the sea and he is swallowed by a big fish. In 3 days (the same time Christ died and rose for us) Jonah humbles himself enough to ask forgiveness, place His trust in God and answer His call at which time he is released from the “Big Fish.”(Jon 1,2)

“Jonah began his journey through the city, and had gone but a single day's walk announcing, "Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed, " when the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast
and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth. When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.”
Jon 3: 1-5, 10

It’s a story where I as a Christian have seen (and see) myself in every role: from the sinful Ninevite who wants/ed my own way; to Jonah who wanted to judge who should be helped, loved and saved (helps, loves and saves.) I can relate to the whale who is waiting (somewhat) patiently and (mostly) compassionately, holding Jonah, until he changed his way. I have also been the Ninevite who converted and asked for forgiveness, and the Jonah who realizes his life is in God’s control, it is not his role to judge, and he is to do God’s will and spread the good news wherever God asks.

God asked Jonah to spread the good news to the Ninevites who were doing evil (definitely not the chosen ones) because God is not particular about “who” is saved, just that “ALL” our saved. And the story teaches that if we truly believe, ask and repent of our sins (put on our sackcloth, shed our pride and be humble and obedient) then God will forgive us regardless of our past.

Think about how many of the stories of the gospel focus on the lives of farmers, shepherds and fisherman—using nature’s analogies of growing, catching and harvesting—to teach us how to grow God in our own lives, to “round up” and “catch” more of humanity thru evangelization, and to show us the urgent need to always be ready for God’s “harvest” into heaven.

“Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: "This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men." Then they abandoned their nets and followed him.” Mk 1:14-20

Heavenly Father: I praise your infinite wisdom that teaches me your way, using professions which provide both earthly food, and heavenly sustenance.
May I be a better fisher(of)men; a better farmer who knows that the end is always near and the harvest is in your control; and a better shepherd of all. Thank you for giving me the food of the Eucharist and the example of the prophets in the bible. Amen.

The Afterword: Do I truly understand, trust and act as if the end of the story is continually drawing nearer? Do I believe in and ask for God’s forgiveness? Do I spread His good news so that others will have the chance to follow? Do I seek His hope and live each day with the joy and peace of His promise for eternity?

May God lead us this week to be “fishers(of)men” who trust in His story and with the urgency of knowing the end is near, change our lives to accept, forgive and spread His BIG fish story,


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