Jonah the prophet, with great hesitancy, preached against the people of Nineveh. He was angry that Ninevites repented, and that God repented of the evil He threatened. The people of Nineveh respond to God’s call for conversion. The queen of the south also went to great lengths and distances to hear the wisdom of Solomon. However, Jesus notes both times, “Something is greater is here.” Yet, this evil generation does not respond.
Pope Francis released an addendum to his great encyclical Laudato Si’ this month on the environment. Pope Francis understood where Jesus was coming from. His own call to care for the environment has not been heeded. Instead, confusion, resistance, and power structures reign supreme. Pope Francis’ message echoes in our hearts. “Reality, goodness and truth do not automatically flow from technological and economic power.” Rather the dignity of the human person is the supreme worth.
We are called to open our eyes, ears, and hearts to the words of the Gospel. Catholic social teaching calls us to be prophets and see the signs of the times. We are invited to see, to judge, and to act. The people of Jesus’ time do not see Jesus for who he is. The gospels constantly challenge us to answer the question of who Jesus is. We pray Lord, “Show us!”
Fr. Phillip Donlan, CP, is the Associate Director of Ministry at Christ the King Passionist Retreat Center in Citrus Heights, California.