Verses for the Day:
“Human beings and animals shall be covered with sackcloth, and they shall cry mightily to God. All shall turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their hands. Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish. When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.” (Jonah 3:8-10 – NRSV)
The repentance of Nineveh became known and an example to the whole world. Through their repentance God reconciled with the Ninevites and wiped away the judgment that was upon them. He showed His mercy to Nineveh and filled its children with His peace. Jonah was displeased when he saw that God turned away his judgment from Nineveh. Praise to You, O Good One who opens Your door to sinners. Anyone who knocks on it is offered deliverance from debts and sins. Praise be to the Good One who keeps His door open to sinners. (Vespers, Wednesday of Nineveh Fast)
Today is the final day of the Three Day Fast, and one takes leave of the Fast by partaking in the Divine Liturgy on Thursday. Day one, we talked about Jonah’s disobedience and running away – and compared it to our running away from God or trying to do things our own way. On the second day we reflected on focusing on God and calling upon Him in the midst of the overwhelming anxieties that swallow us in life. Yesterday we read chapter two of the Book of Jonah and we heard the prayer of Jonah – a prayer filled with faith and assurance in God. Trials and tribulations must become a school of prayer for us.
God gave Jonah a second chance. The faith that Jonah reclaimed in the belly of the fish and the Word of God he received a second time – he took to the city of Nineveh. After the Three Day Fast we will continue in the worlds of our homes, jobs, school, careers etc....but always remember to sustain ourselves with the Word of God and the faith we have received. The Word of God yielded amazing fruits in the people of Nineveh – faith, fasting, prayer and repentance. By this repentance, God’s mercy came upon Nineveh and He pardoned and forgave them, received them and joined them to His own. Let our faith, fasting, prayer and repentance be pleasing unto God that He will receive us and join us unto Him. One last thought – God uses imperfect people to fulfill His mission. He used Jonah even with his disobedience and bad attitude. He can use me. He can use you. He gives us His mercy every day to start anew. Hopefully that day is Today! Once again a blessed Fast and a joyful Feast tomorrow. God Bless.