24 January 2015


jonah 3:1-5, 10; 1 corinthians 7:29-31; mark 1:14-21

wabush, a town in a remote part of labrador, canada, was completely isolated for some time. then workers cut a road through the wilderness to reach it. wabush now has only one road leading into it, and thus, only one road leading out. if someone were to travel the unpaved road to get to wabush, there is only one way he/she could leave: by turning around.

there comes a moment in our lives when we realise we are on the wrong road. as in wabush, there is only one way out… we must turn around. the bible calls that u-turn «repentance», and that’s the thrust of today’s liturgy.
in the first reading, GOD sends jonah to call the people of nineveh to repentance.
in the gospel, JESUS begins his mission by calling people to make a u-turn: «the kingdom of GOD is at hand.  repent and believe the good news!»
what is that good news? it is the news found upon jonah’s lips as an accusation against GOD: that GOD is gracious and compassionate, even to those who do not deserve his grace and compassion.

for some, repentance is a radical turnaround from total evil to accept GOD’s compassion, as it was in the case of the ninevites.
for others, it is a turnaround from their way of doing things to doing what GOD wants them to do; it involves abandoning their nets and boats to follow the LORD, as it was in the case of simon and andrew, james and john.
for me, what will a u-turn to GOD involve? what are the «boats and nets» i need to abandon to follow the LORD?

i pray with the psalmist: «your ways, o LORD, make known to me; teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are GOD my saviour.»