Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the word of God from the Scripture passages speaking to us about the matter of getting what is right in our lives, namely the right focus and the right direction in life following what the Lord our God has shown us as He guides us through this journey of life. It is often that we will be reminded of making the right choices of action and to find our way to the Lord.
Today, in our first reading, taken from the Book of the prophet Jonah, we heard the mission of Jonah who was sent by God to the great city of Nineveh. Nineveh was known as the capital city of a great empire, the Assyrian Empire which for many years was the superpower in the region. Nineveh was therefore a very great city and the centrepoint of not just power, but also wealth, influence and also wickedness and corruption.
The Assyrians were known to be sinful and filled with power hungry people as they rampaged across many nations and conquered them, including that of the northern kingdom state of Israel, which they conquered and the ten tribes of the Israelites were exiled by the actions of the Assyrians. Naturally, the presentation of Nineveh in the Book of Jonah was meant to symbolise the depiction of the ultimate, great evil in the eyes of many of the faithful.
But what came to be a surprise was how the people of Nineveh reacted to what the prophet Jonah told them when he said that Nineveh would be destroyed for their sins and wickedness. They could have just dismissed what the prophet Jonah had said and went on with their lives, or they could even persecute and kill the prophet Jonah for bringing into their midst such an ill omen. Yet, they listened and believed.
Ironically this happened when the Israelites themselves refused to believe in God and in His prophets, and instead, persecuted and killed those prophets and messengers sent to them by God. It was a pagan nation and city who actually in the end believed in God’s words, sincerely and truly repentant of their sinful ways and humbling themselves before God, and that was how Nineveh was spared from destruction.
Linking this to what we have also heard in our Gospel passage today, on the encounter between the Lord Jesus and the sisters Mary and Martha, we can see that each and every one of us have been granted free will by God, with the wisdom, understanding and intelligence to make conscious choices in our respective lives on how we are going to live them so that we can find our way towards the Lord and His salvation.
Martha was very busy preparing everything, all the chores and necessary things to make the Lord’s stay comfortable and good. She certainly had a good intention in doing so, but she ended up being too preoccupied by what she had been doing and became distracted instead, forgetting that she should have remembered what the most important focus for her should have been, that is Christ Himself, as what her sister Mary did.
Mary chose the wise course of action and so did the king and the people of Nineveh. Martha had good intentions but the course of actions she chose was not right, and then for the Israelites I mentioned earlier on in contrast to the people of Nineveh, their hearts and minds were not even filled with the right intention as they had no love for God. Now, the choice is ours, brothers and sisters in Christ. Do we want to continue to walk down this path of sin and wickedness? Or do we rather walk the path shown by Christ?
On this day therefore, we are called to reflect and discern our path in life from now on. Can we choose wisely by considering the outcomes of our conscious choices in life? Can we turn away from the path of sin and disobedience against God, and follow from now on the path of redemption and reconciliation in God? Can we dedicate ourselves with a new spirit and courage to love God from now on with all of our strength?
May God continue to guide our paths and may He help us to remain focused on Him despite the many temptations and challenges we may have to face in the future. May God bless us all and our every actions and endeavours for His greater glory. Amen.