The Word of God

Upset For Nothing


Reflection on Mass Reading for October 9, 2019

“Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry that God did not carry out the evil he threatened against Nineveh.” Poor Jonah! He is angry again. God didn’t punish those people because, well, they repented and begged for mercy and the Lord said, “Yes!” It is clear by now that the Book of Jonah is the story of a disobedient, narrow-minded prophet who is upset at the outcome of the only message he was supposed to deliver. So he sulks, he mopes, broods, is sullen, has a long face, remains in a bad mood, is in a huff, and is seemingly incurably grumpy. Sound like anyone you know? And all this pathetic fit-throwing because God did not follow Jonah’s script which he passionately wrote for God. It does sound horribly immature and selfish, at the very least, overwhelmingly short-sighted and oddly familiar.

So what, is prayer the remedy to Jonah’s dilemma and everyone else’s we know inflicted with this spiritual bias? It is quite simple and brilliant: “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” We have here the universally famous prayer of the “Our Father.” The only prayer that Jesus taught. The message of mercy is both simple and readily experienced in the life of anyone who wants to find deep joy and happiness even in the midst of pain and suffering. We turn to Him and cry out, “God, you are Holy and I need you for everything, especially for forgiveness!

Before putting the finishing touches on this very long day, placing in proper perspective especially the people and things that may have caused us to be angry, pray the “Our Father” and see if you can master this practice every night. It just could be the last prayer you ever offer on this planet. And what a strategically beautiful way to exit!

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