What happens when you are supposed to be concerned about people you really do not like? What if you are to tell them something that could be for their own good, but you do not want them to hear it for fear they might do it?
Today marks one week into our spiritual journey in this season of Lent. The Scripture readings for today had a profound effect on me and the way that I view Lent. In the readings we are reminded of another aspect of Jonah’s story; we hear how Jonah warned the people of Nineveh to turn away from their evil ways and repent before God. Even the King of Nineveh listened to Jonah and repented by choosing to fast and wear sack cloth. We also hear how Jesus used the story of Nineveh to tell his disciples how important it is to be faithful to God.
Today we have two readings that are quite different, and yet are interesting in the way in which they tell similar things about God. We have probably heard both before. The prophet Jonah is told by God to go to Nineveh, which at one time was the largest city in the world. Jonah does not want to go. In fact, he heads in the opposite direction. Martha and Mary are mentioned in more than one gospel. This story is probably familiar to us as well. Martha, the good hostess, is doing many things related to hospitality. Mary spends her time listening to the words of Jesus. Both Martha and Jonah become upset because Mary and Nineveh are not doing what they want them to do. Martha wants hospitality help and Jonah wants Nineveh to be destroyed. In the end, they both learn that they must allow God to be God.