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February 20, 2013
Wednesday of the First Week of Lent
Jonah 3:1-10 * Luke 11:29-32
In today’s reading, Jonah brings God’s message to the people of Nineveh to inspire a conversion from their sinful ways. Upon hearing Jonah, the people begin to fast and cover themselves with sackcloth. When the king of Nineveh gets word of God’s anger, he removes his robe, covers himself in sackcloth and sits in a pile of ashes. He then orders the people to do the same in hope that God’s anger will subside when he sees his people with penitent hearts. And it is so, for when God saw that the people “turned from their evil way,” he did not destroy their city (Jonah 3:10).
The people of Nineveh seek forgiveness out of fear of the Lord and his wrath, but do we feel this kind of profound fear when we frequent confession? For me, this is not usually the case. Although the situation for us and the people of Nineveh is quite different, the Lord is asking the same thing of all of us: to approach him with contrite hearts so that we change from our sinful ways out of a deep love for him.
I believe that the Act of Contrition that we recite at the end of a confession is meant to be a plea, from the deepest part of our hearts, that God will be merciful to us–that he may forgive us because we love him and are truly sorry.
Am I sorry for my sins because of the pain they cause me or because of the pan they cause God, the one who loves me?
How can I show him that I am truly sorry?
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