Reflection on the Daily Readings for 10/05/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Lectionary # 461. Jonah 1:1-2:1.11. Jona is used as Resp.
2:188.8.131.52 Luke 10:25-37.
Yom Kippur is the most solemn day of fasting and renewal for the Jewish
people. It is celebrated after the Jewish New Year which is always in
autumn. Jonah, the prophet, is read in the afternoon of Yom Kippur. That
gives us an assurance that the contents of the book is primarily about
renewal and repentance on our part, perhaps, emphasizing the need for each
person to enter into repentance and renewal. In today’s liturgy and the
next day we read this as our first reading in the sacred liturgy of the
word of God. Monday through Wednesday of this twenty-seventh week will
complete our listening and reading of the book of Jonah. Unlike the other
prophetic books, Jonah is a narrative and not a series of oracles where God
is speaking through the prophet to the people. The book itself contains
satire, humor, great use of the Psalms in Jonah’s prayer and finally the
great theme of Gentiles being led to a successful return to God through the
prophet’s warnings. He was upset that he was so successful. The book is
more of a parable in action and perhaps helps us see the story of the Good
Samaritan in the same literary mode. Through Jonah we are able to probe
into the role of a prophet and learn the importance of repentance.
Our Gospel parable and its introduction through a question by a lawyer
leads us to see God’s word being accomplished through living out the
greatest of the commandments. The reward of this according to Luke is
eternat life. He applies the parable to Gentiles just as Jonah spoke of
them. The great commandment is worth meditating upon since it echoes the
Shemah or great prayer that the Jewish people say three times each day.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,
and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as
yourself.” Jesus then explains it with an action parable that of the
Samaritan who helps the man who was robbed and beaten on the road to
Jericho. We may need to see the times when we acted more like the priest or
the Levite in the parable and then turn to God through a renewal of living
out the commandment of love for God and neighbor today and in the days to
come. Both testaments have the double content of this great commandment,
God and neighbor are to be loved. The lesson of this parable like that of
Jonah is easily seen. We are called to make it alive in our own lives today
and tomorrow and every day of our lives. Amen.