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Sign of Jonah

刊登日期: 2012.02.05
作者: Fr. Thomas Au 區耀邦神父  


A couple of Sundays ago, Jan 22, the first reading was from the book of the prophet Jonah 《約納先知書》.  We are very familiar with the story.  I have two things for you to think about.

First, why did Jonah get swallowed by a whale?  Because he did not want to go to Nineveh.  Why?  Because Nineveh was the capitol of Assyria, and Assyria was the enemy of Israel.  Why would Jonah want the Assyrians to repent and not be punished (think “wiped out”) by God?  Hurray.  Go do it, God.  So Jonah would not go.  But God WANTS them to be saved.  And God insisted.  That is the background of the story.

Second, most people stop reading after the first 3 chapters.  The most interesting part is in chapter 4.  Take the time to read it now, or else the next paragraphs will not make sense.  (pause)

So what does it say?

‘Then the LORD said, “You are concerned over the gourd plant which cost you no effort and which you did not grow; it came up in one night and in one night it perished. And should I not be concerned over the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot know their right hand from their left, not to mention all the animals?”’  (vs 10,11)

God cares for all people, including our enemies, because He created all of us.  We are His children regardless of race, ethnicity…..

The story of Jonah is not simply about his being swallowed up by a giant fish.  It is about:

1. God wants to save the world, eventually sending His Son Jesus to die on the Cross.

2. God wants us to love even our enemies.

3. God will even use someone like Jonah, who did NOT want to do His Will, to be His prophet.

So really, we have no excuses, if we believe in Jesus, even when we are not willing or obedient.  He wants us do His work of Love and Salvation.

On a more timely application to this lesson, let us look at the issues of ecology(生態學), environmental protection(環保)and abortion (人工流產,墮胎).  

Sunday, January 22, 2011, marked the 39th anniversary of the legalization of abortion in the US in 1973.  In Hong Kong, abortion became legal on Feb 17, 1981.

To be honest, when I was growing up in Hong Kong I knew about abortion but did not think much about it.  It was just there.  I did not consider whether it was right or wrong.  It had nothing to do with me and this was before it was legalized.

I first thought about it when it became legal while I was at the university in US.  We were discussing it and listening to what the Church had to say.

Even today, most discussions involve the issues of the rights of the woman to choose, to decide for herself about her own body.  Other discussions are about the circumstances of the pregnancy, the supposed population “explosion” etc…  (It is certainly not about our sinful misuse of the gift of sexuality by one or both parties that resulted in a non-desired condition of having a baby.)

I would just like to know what did the innocent baby do to deserve such a horrible death?  In this day and age, where we are so concerned with the preciousness of the environment and green earth, we simply ignore the preciousness of a human life.  We treat a baby worse than the worst enemy of society.   We are thinking like Jonah, of our own self interests.

Jesus wants more from us.  He wants us to love one another as He has loved us.



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