How do we repent? Some try to make amends with those they've hurt, others go to confession and try to uncover a way to change. Many do both, as a process of seeking forgiveness and learning to forgive oneself. Think about the story of Jonah. He goes to deliver the message to the people of Nineveh to repent and change, or God would punish them. They change and God blesses them. However, Jonah still wished God would inflict misery on them, for they were terrible people. He didn't forgive, or understand the forgiveness God was trying to give. Are there times when we are around people, or individuals who hurt us, and we don't actually want to forgive them. We try to hurt back. How then can we seek forgiveness if we're feeling this way towards our neighbour?
Today's Gospel states:'When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, "This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah became a sign to the men of Nin'eveh, so will the Son of man be to this generation. The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nin'eveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here' (Luke 11:29-32).
In this Gospel, they tell us that we need to seek change and forgiveness, like the people of Nineveh, with Jonah as a sign for them. However, Jesus becomes a sign for us, in our world today, one way beyond Jonah. Jesus becomes a sign for the current generation, he on we need to listen to, and to learn from. Jesus gives us the key for how to be good people of faith, to love one another, to forgive and seek forgiveness and live a life of love. This reading tells us that something greater than Jonah is here, the one who had been prophesied throughout the old testament, God's Son. He tells us how we need to change and what we need to do. Now it's our turn to pay attention, to listen.
Today's prayer comes from 'CatholicOnline' a prayer for repentance:
Oh Most humane and adorable Jesus, Your endless grace and mercy flows forth. Before granting the gift of absolution To earnest repenters of sinful ways, You demanded a sacrificial compensation. For a wrongful act cannot be rectified Until punishment has been accepted! Yes, for the salvation of my soul, Jesus, You accepted the price of the Cross! Grant me the grace to remain free of debts, My heart remaining flawless before You, Making Your absolution truly worthwhile! Amen.