Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about Jesus our Lord Who rebuked the people, especially the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law for their lack of faith, for their refusal to believe in the truth that He has brought down upon them, on their stubbornness and adamant refusal to be true disciples and followers of His.
They still refused to believe in Him even after all that He had done for them, all the miraculous deeds and goods He had done in their sight, the healing of the sick, casting out of demons, miracles of the feeding of the many thousands, and many others. These people had seen it all, especially even the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who had hounded Jesus and His disciples at every possible opportunities, and yet they still refused to believe.
And yet, God would show them all the ultimate sign of all, when they asked for yet another miracle. He would show them the sign of Jonah, and what does this mean, brethren? The sign of Jonah was a reference to the actions of the prophet Jonah, who had been called by God to preach to the Assyrians in Nineveh about their downfall and yet he fled from the Lord and his duties after refusing to take part in that work.
And when he was on a boat on the way to the faraway lands, a great storm came and engulfed the boat, waves and wind striking against it threatening to sink it, but then the prophet Jonah admitted to the ship captain that he had sinned before God by not listening to His call, and therefore the storm was likely a result of his own actions, and then he asked for the captain to throw him into the sea, of which the captain initially refused to do.
But as the waves and the winds continued to grow stronger, they had no choice, and when the prophet Jonah was thrown into the sea, the very moment they did that, the storm completely stopped and the sea became still. And the prophet Jonah himself was taken into the safety of a big fish’s belly, likely that of a whale for three days and three nights long, before he was released on a seashore.
Jonah would then go on to Nineveh, where he proclaimed the destruction of the city when the Assyrians, from their king to the lowest slaves repented from their sins, and God rescinded His punishment for them, and spared the city and its inhabitants. This is the sign of Jonah, the same sign which our Lord Jesus had brought into the world as well, the sign of His salvation.
Just as Jonah dwelled in the belly of the giant whale for three days and three nights, so would the Lord Jesus descend to the depths of hell for three days after He was crucified and died, so that through that action, He might scour all of hell and free all the righteous people who have long awaited the coming of their Lord and Saviour, much like Jonah who was sent to Nineveh to proclaim the judgment of God, and through repentance, the people of Nineveh and their city was saved.
What is it that each of us can learn from today’s Scripture passages, brethren? It is that our Lord has been so caring and loving towards us that He had done tremendous favours for our sake, His beloved people, His beloved children. Yet it is often that we do not realise just how much God has loved us, much like those people who doubted the Lord despite all that they have seen Him doing in their midst.
Therefore, brethren, let us all not harden our hearts as what those people had done, for if we harden our hearts and refuse the Lord, then our fate may be that of destruction as declared to Nineveh, that is damnation and eternal suffering. Instead, let us all rededicate ourselves to God and follow the examples of the people of Nineveh, regretting our sins and wicked deeds, and sincerely seeking for God’s mercy and forgiveness.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us draw closer to our Lord, our loving God and Father. Let us all follow in His footsteps and do all that He had asked us to do, that we may be found righteous and just at the time when He comes again to judge all creation. May the Lord help us and be with us always. Amen.