"Jesus, God in the flesh, revealed God's totality. If Jesus is God and is reaching out to you, and you make Him the center of your life, you become fully alive. It makes living without Him hardly seem like living."
Fully Alive’s Lenten Scriptural Commentary helps Christians get more out of Lent by taking God’s word seriously.
Mostly avoiding personal stories and anecdotes, our commentary dives deeply into the scripture readings for each day and applies them to the broader context of Lent. We use the daily Mass readings from the Catholic lectionary.
If possible, read each passage slowly, taking in each word. If you find that you’ve hurried through a reading, read it over a few more times. Let the words reverberate in your heart. After you’ve let it sink in, read our Lenten Scriptural Commentary.
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Wednesday of the First Week in Lent
Inexplicably, the evil Ninevites immediately listen to the voice of Jonah the prophet and repent of their sins, their wrongdoings. The same can’t be said for those who initially heard Jesus’ message. Can it be said for us?
Readings: Jon 3:1-10/Lk 11:29-32
Click here to read the complete text from the USCCB website
Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day's walk announcing,
"Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,"
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast
and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.
When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out.
(cf. Jon 3: 1-10)
Nineveh was an excessively wicked city. That they believed the word of God and repented was a great lesson to the Israelites: if even they listen to the word of God, aren’t we expected to all the more?
Indeed. To whom much is given, much is expected. One way that we show our love for God is by being realistic about our shortcomings and by making concrete steps to change for the better.
We are held back by our sin, can even be destroyed by it. But if we repent, rely on God, and work with Him, we can be helped and become the people we're meant to be.
"This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
At the judgment
the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here.
At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it,
because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here."
(cf. Lk 11: 29-32)
The Old Covenant was indeed marvelous. God only gave his explicit, intimate commands and guidance to the Israelites. When it is said that Jesus is greater than Solomon and Jonah, it is implied that Solomon and Jonah were great.
God revealed Himself in space and time to the Israelites, guiding them in ways that they could understand. Jesus, God in the flesh, revealed God's totality, which is what makes His appearance even greater. If Jesus is God and is reaching out to you, and you make Him the center of your life, you become fully alive. It makes living without Him hardly seem like living.
It is as difficult for us today to renounce ourselves and accept Jesus as it was for his original audience. It is a daily struggle and takes perpetual conversion. We have “blessed assurance,” but we are also called to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.”
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician. The founder of Fully Alive Christian Media, he also created The Minnesota Sport Ramble and is a writer and copy editor for Music in Minnesota. He was Lead Staff Writer for Minnesota culture blogs Curious North and Hometown Hustle. Reach him via email.
Erik Ritland is a journalist and musician. He's the lead staff writer and podcast host of Fully Alive Christian Media and Rambling On, a blog and podcast covering sports, music, and culture.