Wednesday of the Rogation of Ninivites

Today being the third day of the commemoration of the Rogation of Ninivites, the Church sets before us for our meditation as the first reading from the Old Testament Joel 2:15-27. In verses 15 to 17 we read an appeal to the Israelites, old and young including infants, for fast, austerity and prayer so that they may be spared from  an abandonment by Yahweh as well as from the mockery that may ensue from the pagans in the case of their abandonment. After this in verses 18 to 27 Yahweh’s promise to the people for prosperity, abundance of agricultural produces as well as victory on war front comes as prophetic utterance.


The second reading is Jonah 3:1-4:11. This has been shown as a didactic fiction in the form of a parable by modern Biblical scholars. Its message is very forceful: God is concerned with the salvation of non-Israelites too. Although the narrow-minded Israelite Jonah did not want to go to Niniveh to preach repentance, the turn of events brought him to that pagan city. Unlike the Israelites many a time, the Ninivites repented, fasted and did penance as soon as they heard the preaching of Jonah. The prophet hoped that the people would not repent and therefore the city would be destroyed as warned in his preaching. But the contrary happened. Therefore Jonah was unhappy and angry. He made a booth outside the city and remained there. Yahweh made a creeper to sprout and grow up to cover the booth in one night which made Jonah comfortable. But Yahweh’s command a worm attacked the plant and it withered in the scorching sun and hot east wind. Jonah felt angry at this. Yahweh’s reaction to Jonah is expressed as His concern for the numerous men and livestock in the city of Niniveh. The question put before Jonah was if he was concerned about the creeper which he did not plant, how much more should Yahweh be concerned about he people of that city and their possessions which all were His creations.


The third reading, Rom.9:14-10:17, speaks about God’s mercy and compassion. God’s choice of the gentiles to inherit His blessings is highlighted. Israel did not succeed in fulfilling the Law. God gives His salvation to all.


The fourth reading for today is Mt.6:1-18. This is part of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus gives instruction to His followers regarding some practices which should not be imitations of those of the Pharisees who did not have the right spirit. The Pharisees used to sound a trumpet before giving alms. But Jesus instructs that when one gives alms it should be in secret in such a way that the left hand does not know what the right hand does. The followers of Jesus should not make a show of prayer as the Pharisees were doing in the synagogues and public places. Prayer should be addressed to God in secret. The ideal prayer, The Our Father, taught by Jesus is recorded by St.Matthew here. With regard to fasting also the followers of Jesus should take care not to disfigure their faces and look gloomy as the Pharisees were doing. The cheerful faces of Jesus’ followers will hide the fact of their fasting. In short, those who make a show in the above said ways should not expect a reward from God because the publicity gained by them itself is the reward for such shows.


Read more on 3-day Fast - Monday of the Rogation of Ninivites
Read more on 3-day Fast - Tuesday of the Rogation of Ninivites
Read more on 3-day Fast - Wednesday of the Rogation of Ninivites

Read more on 3-day Fast - Thursday of the Rogation of Ninivites

Credits: Father Thomas Kalayil, CMI <thomas 'dot' kalayil 'at' cmi 'dot' in>


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