" ITREALMS: Answer the call of Nineveh & May God's will prevail


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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Answer the call of Nineveh & May God's will prevail

In the first reading of today, from the book of the prophet Jonah, God spoke to Jonah, calling him to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh. Though Jonah tried to refuse, God showed him that the will of God prevails in all, so he changed his mind and went and preached to the people of Nineveh.

In the gospel, we see Mark's version of the call of the first four apostles, all fishermen. According to Mark, they left everything they were doing and followed Jesus.

We might begin to compare the difference between the immediate and earnest response of these apostles on the one hand, and the reluctant response of Jonah on the other. But I see something much more happening here which I want to point out for our reflection. They were all ordinary men who were going about their businesses. There was nothing remarkably extraordinary about them. Bring them among us today, they will blend with us, in our churches, market places, schools, offices etc. We will not notice them. They were ordinary people like you and me who were called to serve. Jonah responded reluctantly, but others responded immediately with zeal.

Just as these men were called, so God is calling all of us to serve Him in the world around us. I am sure that someway, somehow, when we look around us, we can all see something that is not going as it should. It might be in our families, in our relationships and friendships, in schools, in our workplaces, in our neighbourhoods and communities, the killing of innocent people in other communities far and near. God is calling us to do something about that situation and change it.

Answering God’s call might require a change in career for us. But not necessarily; Like the four apostles mentioned in today’s gospel, for most of us, it will not require a change in career. It might only require a transformation of our present careers into a means of service. The same line of trade, but on a different level. This becomes possible if we move away from pursuing only income and personal enhancement to seeking the glory of God and the benefit of humankind and all God’s creation.

For some like Jonah, answering God’s call to serve might take us to places we never dreamt of going, and to things we would rather not do. Little wonder, he attempted to run away from God. Jonah could be seen from the lenses of our contemporary world, as one who refused to pick God’s call or switched off his phone purposefully. He went reluctantly, in answer to the call to serve. Nineveh in our world today is found in families and relationships that are dysfunctional. Nineveh is found in the backstreets and alleys that are festering with vices of various kinds. 

Nineveh is found in board rooms that put profit before anything else, no matter its impact on people and the environment. Nineveh is found in the ivory towers of corporate businesses where the fate and destinies of billions of the world’s poorest are decided. Wherever we see the Nineveh to which God is calling us, let us do our best to answer the call to serve, difficult though it will be. Repenting and believing entails liberation from and liberation for respectively, it has to do with being attached to the person of Jesus and to journey along with him. Happy Sunday

* Rev. Fr Simon Peter Dzungwe contributed this from Ibadan, Oyo State.

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