3rd Sunday - First Reading: Jonah 3:1-5, 10 -

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The Ninevites listened to the preaching of Jonah and repented of their evil ways.

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Jonah 3:1-10:

Jonah 3:1-10 The Ninevites listened to the preaching of Jonah and repent of their evil ways.

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1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” 3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth. 4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he cried, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. The Holy Bible : Revised Standard Version Second Catholic edition (2006), with the ecclesiastical approval of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Thomas Nelson Publishing for Ignatius Press. The English translations of the works of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) who also uses the RSV-CE or its Second Edition.

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6 Then tidings reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he made proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; let them not feed, or drink water, 8 but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence which is in his hands. 9 Who knows, God may yet repent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we perish not?” 10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God repented of the evil which he had said he would do to them; and he did not do it. The Holy Bible : Revised Standard Version Second Catholic edition (2006), with the ecclesiastical approval of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Thomas Nelson Publishing for Ignatius Press. The English translations of the works of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) who also uses the RSV-CE or its Second Edition.

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Isn’t it wonderful that our God is a God of second chances? Nineveh, located on the eastern bank of the Tigris river, became the famous capital of the mighty Assyrian empire. Assyria was known for its terrorist atrocities in warfare. Nahum the prophet announce the fall of Nineveh between 664-663 B.C. as divine retaliation for plotting evil against the Lord (Nah. 1:11), cruelty and plundering in wartime (2:12–13; 3:1, 19), prostitution and witchcraft (v. 4), and commercial exploitation (v. 19). Nahum’s contemporary Zephaniah criticized the inhabitants of Nineveh for their arrogance (Zeph. 2:13–15). Isn’t it amazing with all of this corruption God was willing to give them a second chance?

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Why? Because by giving people a second chance God provides them with the opportunity to repent and learn from their past mistakes while also growing in wisdom and faith. Near the end of Irving Stone’s powerful novel, “ Love Is Eternal ,” about Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln, there was a moving conversation between Mrs. Lincoln and the President’s bodyguard, Parker, who had been summoned to Mrs. Lincoln’s room.

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“Why were you not at the door to keep the assassin out?” she demanded. With head bowed, Parker replied, “I have bitterly repented it. But I did not believe that anyone would try to kill so good a man in such a public place. Belief made me careless. I was also attracted by the play, and did not see the assassin enter the box.”

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“You should have seen him.” “You had no business to be careless.” With this, Mrs. Lincoln fell back on her pillow and covered her face with her hands, and from deep emotion, said: “Go now. It’s not you I can’t forgive; it’s the assassin.” Tad, Lincoln’s son, had spent that miserable night beneath his father’s desk in the executive office and said, “If Pa had lived, he would have forgiven the man who shot him. Pa forgave everybody.” If you have ever made the mistake of thinking that whatever you have done or failed to do can’t be forgiven by God remember the delight of God in welcoming the lost sheep back into His flock (Lk. 15:6). God forgave the people of Nineveh , He will also forgive you.

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