WEDNESDAY OF THE TWENTY-SEVENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing. And now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” And the Lord said, “Is it right for you to be angry?” Then Jonah went out of the city and sat down east of the city, and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, waiting to see what would become of the city.
The Lord God appointed a bush, and made it come up over Jonah, to give shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort; so Jonah was very happy about the bush. But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the bush, so that it withered. When the sun rose, God prepared a sultry east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint and asked that he might die. He said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”
But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the bush?” And he said, “Yes, angry enough to die.” Then the Lord said, “You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not labor and which you did not grow; it came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should I not be concerned about 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 many animals?”
Psalm 86:3-6, 9-10
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all day long. Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you. Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my cry of supplication.
All the nations you have made shall come and bow down before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.
He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.”
The story of Jonah allows us to see the mind of God and just how very different it is from our minds. God is slow to anger. We are quick.
When we get angry, we want retribution. We want to see our enemies punished. Without this, we feel that justice has not been served. Jonah wanted to see the Ninevites punished for their sins. But God relented and Jonah was angry. He was angry too that his shady bush was attacked by a worm so that the sun beat down on his head.
The Lord’s prayer, our model for prayer, expresses the essence of all our prayer. We all need something daily from the Lord. He wants to give it to us but he wants us to ask and be dependent on him. We sin but we go to the Father trusting in his forgiveness and God expects us to forgive others as well. We need the mercy of God to prevent us from being tested beyond our endurance. The trials we undergo in this life are many but with God, we can overcome and let go of the emotions that do not agree with the mind of God.