Daily Bible Reading - February 21, 2024
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Daily Bible Reading - February 21, 2024

Claretian Communications Foundation, Inc.

1ST WEEK OF LENT

Psalter: Week 1 / (Violet)

St. Peter Damian, bishop & doctor

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19: A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

1st Reading: Jonah 3: 1-10

The word of Yahweh came to Jonah a second time: “Go to Nineveh, the great city, and announce to them the message I give you.” In obedience to the word of Yahweh, Jonah went to Nineveh. It was a very large city, and it took three days just to cross it. So Jonah walked a single day’s journey and began proclaiming, “Forty days more and Nineveh will be destroyed.”

The people of the city believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. Upon hearing the news, the king of Nineveh got up from his throne, took off his royal robe, put on sackcloth and sat down in ashes. He issued a proclamation throughout Nineveh:

“By the decree of the king and his nobles, no people or beasts, herd or flock, will taste anything; neither will they eat nor drink. But let people and beasts be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call aloud to God, turn from his evil ways and violence. Who knows? God may yet relent, turn from his fierce anger and spare us.”

When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened upon them.

Gospel: Luke 11: 29-32

As the crowd increased, Jesus spoke the following words: “People of the present time are troubled people. They ask for a sign, but no sign will be given to them except the sign of Jonah.

As Jonah became a sign for the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be a sign for this generation. The Queen of the South will rise up on Judgment Day with the people of these times and accuse them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon;

and here, there is greater than Solomon. The people of Nineveh will rise up on Judgment Day with the people of these times and accuse them, for Jonah’s preaching made them turn from their sins, and here, there is greater than Jonah.

REFLECTION:

“Jesus is greater than Jonah.”

In the Old Testament, Jonah was sent by the Lord to Nineveh in order to proclaim to the Ninevites God’s message of conversion. However, Jonah at first fled to Tarshish and he became angry when the Ninevites were converted. Jonah was escaping from God and was angry about the Ninevites’ conversion because the Ninevites were the enemies of the Israelites.

Jonah could not let go of his hurts because the Ninevites, the Assyrians, destroyed his nation.

Jonah was the one who really needed conversion. Failing to forgive his enemies, Jonah had locked himself in his own small world while having difficulty coming to terms with the God who is gracious and forgiving. Hence, Jesus is indeed greater than Jonah. Jesus became the sign for the people of his time.

He preached forgiveness (cf. Lk. 6:37). He practiced forgiveness by forgiving his executioners (cf. Lk. 23:34). Jesus remains to be a sign for all of us today. We are challenged to go out of the small world we made for ourselves due to hurts and anger. We are called to forgive.

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