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  My Witness

Vol. 11, No. 2, April, 2006

The Kingdom of God is at Hand!! Part 2
by Sr. Brigid Meierotto, S.N.C.

Sister Brigid In this teaching, we will accept the word of God, the Scriptures into our hearts and minds, letting them be light to us. The Scriptures are the inspired word of God which has the power to accomplish what it says, for us. Yes, for us, right here. Right now!

The Scripture we are reflecting upon is Jonah 3:6-10 4:1-11; Psalm 25:4-9; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20. Read these passages slowly, prayerfully.

As you read the Scripture, in your heart ask the Holy Spirit to explain to you the message that the Lord has for you personally. Do not doubt that the Lord Jesus will do this for you, because that is why he came, so that you can get to know and to love Jesus. "These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you" (John 14:25f). Ask the Holy Spirit what you desire from him...something like this: "O Holy Spirit, Jesus said that you would teach me all things and I believe him. Teach me what it means for me that the kingdom is at hand; what should I be doing about that?! Teach me how I should be following Jesus! Teach me to put all my hope and trust in Jesus, giving him praise and adoration with every breath! Thank you, O Holy Spirit."

We ended Part 1 of, The Kingdom of God is at Hand, with the people of Nineveh believing Jonah's call to repentance. Now we see that even the king of Nineveh is brought to repent by the proclamation of Jonah:

"Then tidings reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he made proclamation....By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; let them not feed, or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them cry mightily to God; yea, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may yet repent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we perish not?"

"When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God repented of the evil which he had said he would do to them; and he did not do it."

How did Jonah respond to this good news of the success of his preaching repentance to the city of Nineveh? Would you believe -- he was very angry!

"But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry."

What should a person do when they are angry? Pray!! So Jonah prayed to the Lord; he laid it on the line:

"I pray thee, Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that thou art a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and repentant of evil."

Jonah is so distressed by the love and mercy that the Lord for this sinful city that he goes on to tell the Lord:

"Therefore now, O Lord, take my life from me, I beseech thee, for it is better for me to die than to live." And the Lord said, 'Do you do well to be angry?'"

Jonah ignores the Lord's question, settles himself in a position where he can watch to see what is going to happen to the city.

But now, the Lord takes action to teach Jonah another lesson -- apparently being in the fish's belly was not enough for the Lord to get through to reach Jonah. So now the Lord appoints a plant that grew up over Jonah providing shade to give him comfort. Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant.

The next morning, however, the Lord appointed a worm that attacked the plant; and the plant withered! Then the sun rose and beat down upon Jonah's head. and the Lord appointed a sultry east wind. Poor Jonah was faint and again asked that he might die, but the Lord said to Jonah:

"Do you do well to be angry for the plant?" And he said, 'I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.'" And the Lord said, "You pity the plant for which you did not labor nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night, and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?"

Closing prayer: "Thank you, Spirit of love, Thank you for teaching me through the story of Jonah, what it means for me that the kingdom is at hand! Thank you for teaching me how I should be following Jesus! Thank you for teaching me to put all my hope and trust in Jesus, giving him praise and adoration with every breath! Thank you for teaching me what love the Lord has for us, for all his people, for every person he has made! Thank you, O Holy Spirit." Now the prayer to Mary:

"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus! Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen!"

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