We all know the story of Jonah and the whale and probably the majority also know that Jonah took a second trip to Nineveh which was more successful. This morning’s first reading chronicles that part of the short book that tells of the response of the Ninevites to Jonah’s message of destruction, soon to fall on that wicked city. Surprisingly quick was the repentance of the entire populace – including the king of Nineveh who laid aside his robe, covered himself in sackcloth and sat in the ashes, after which he proclaimed a total fast for humans and animals. Who knows, he said, God may relent and forgive and withhold his blazing wrath, so that we shall not perish. And that is exactly what happened.
Reading that, I began to think about the teenagers in Florida whose grief and anger over the deaths of their companions is fueling a very loud cry for change. For a long time groups have been calling for reform of gun laws and a return to the spirit of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution but the gun lobby has continued to win the argument. Is it possible that the hearts of the country may finally be moved to change by the rising of these young voices?
There’s more to Jonah’s story, but my hope for today lies in the above question about the possibility that lies in our younger generation. It is enough for today. With luck, Jonah may come back around at a later date. (If it piques your interest, read chapter 4 of the Book of Jonah. It’s only 3 paragraphs…) Let’s hear it for the young people and pray for the end of gun violence in this country and the world while asking ourselves what we are willing to sacrifice to make it happen.