Galatians 4:22-24, 26-27, 31-5:1
As Jesus teaches the large crowds and his disciples; what stands out in this text is the idea of "something greater" present. Throughout scripture we have stories of God’s abundance and mercy available to all who call on him. Jesus admonishes those who seem blind to the true sign as he points to the sign of Jonah. Jonah’s story guides us in understanding God’s dynamic seeking out the lost by sending messengers to bring the good news of salvation. Might the something greater be understood in Jonah’s response to the outcome of a successful mission?
When the Ninevites -the torturous enemy-did listen and repent, Jonah was distraught! He couldn’t accept that his enemy would be saved. This was not his idea of fairness or justice. Could the something greater here be Jesus radical message to love your enemy; pray for those who persecute you? Might I lose out if I am blind to the true sign?
Luke’s challenge to his gentile audience is no less a challenge for us today. Something greater here beckons us to ponder our deepest ideas of fairness and justice and to cultivate a loving response to all the enemies in our lives. No doubt we will be invited into this practice often…from driving in traffic; to forgiving a loved one; to our modern day Ninevites; and beyond. "This is my commandment: love, one another as I have loved you" John 15:12.
For our journey, Jesus gives us "something greater" in his Body and Blood-our Manna for today and everywhere two or more are gathered in his name. As St. Paul affirms in the first reading-we are born free to choose to see, to love, and to forgive. May I cultivate this virtue in my life today.
Jean Bowler is a retreatant at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, and a member of the Office of Mission Effectiveness Board of Holy Cross Province.