By Karen Sheehy
In today’s first reading from the book of Jonah, we find this previously reluctant prophet going to Nineveh (in modern day Syria) “according to the Lord’s bidding” (Jonah 3:2). What a turn around or metanoia in his life, for just a short while back, Jonah refused to follow the Lord’s instructions and found himself alone in the belly of the whale for three long days. “Why the disregard?” you may ask. The answer: Jonah did not want to call his people’s long term persecutors towards the repentance and life giving forgiveness of God.
How many of us can relate to this story? I know I can. Not only do I relate to Jonah’s defiant hesitancy, but also to God’s ability to lead him out of his disastrous misstep. Over the last year or so, I am finally learning to approach all things with a contrite heart and renewed spirit open to the Lord’s bidding. I guess after years spent in the metaphorical “belly of the whale,” I have finally learned to avoid the many spiritual side tracks and pitfalls of life which often accompany this kind of willful disregard. God’s ways are astounding, and despite their unpredictability, produce abundant fruit.
Two months ago, our family welcomed into our home my adoptive son’s half birth sibling, Alyssa. Alyssa, a beautiful and intelligent 19-year-old, was in need of medical and educational assistance. Since that time, I have become her medical case manager, home school teacher, spiritual mother, and friend. Likewise, she has become my friend and a source of tremendous joy in our home and only son’s life. It is amazing to watch this young women, with very little exposure to Christ, soak up all the love and mercy of God being revealed in her High School Catholic homeschool curriculum and our faith community. As I watch her learn about the biblical story of salvation history, the beauty of the Catholic Mass, the intimacy of family prayer, and the fellowship of Christian discipleship, I am amazed!
After just two months of exposure to the joyful and contagious love of Christ, she is glowing with youthful innocence, receiving amazing messages of consolation from the Lord, and becoming of vessel of His peace to all those she encounters. I must admit that her simultaneous childlike openness and humble trust of God are at once disarming and inspiring. Is it that easy, I find myself asking? Yes, it appears so, for just like the Ninevites and the Old Testament Queen of the South mentioned in today’s Gospel, Alyssa is listening and responding to the wisdom of the Lord! This is just as valuable a lesson for me today as it was for Jonah, the Israelites, and people gathered around Jesus, for God’s love and mercy have no boundaries!
About the author:
Karen Sheehy is a devout Catholic, wife and mother, motivational speaker, blogger, president of a non-for-profit, and developer of spiritualsafariguide.com, your passport to a world of spiritual inspiration and understanding. To learn more about Karen Sheehy and her newly released book entitled, The Healing Eyes of Mercy. A Trinity of Love, please visit http://www.spiritualsafariguide.com