A whale of a story

| Deacon Nick VanDenBroeke | January 18, 2012 | 0 Comments

We are called to live, today, in light of gaining eternal life, tomorrow

Vocation, as seen in the light of repentance, is the theme of the Scripture readings this Sunday.

The church reminds us that only by turning to God through repentance can we fully live the vocation to which God is calling us.

The first reading, from the book of Jonah, chapter 3, presents Jonah fulfilling God’s command that he should go to the city of Nineveh and preach repentance to the people.

As we know from the story, Jonah did not obey God’s first command to go to Nineveh but instead ran away and ended up in the belly of the whale. He ran away from God, ran away from preaching repentance and ran away from the vocation to which God was calling him. When Jonah finally repented from having disobeyed God, he went to Nineveh.

The Ninevites, in turn, upon hearing God’s message from Jonah also repented of their sins, and thus began to follow God’s will for their lives.

In the second reading from chapter 7 of St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul tells us that we must live, while keeping in mind that “the world in its present form is passing away.”

To understand this passage we must keep in mind an important biblical principle: no passage of Scripture can stand alone. A passage of Scripture must always be seen in light of the verses around it, the rest of the chapter, the entire book from which it comes, and all of Scripture as a whole.

Read Scripture in fullness

When we look at the context of this verse, we see that in this chapter St. Paul is speaking about the vocations of marriage and remaining single. Later in this chapter, he says that if two wish to marry “let them marry.”

When we hear “let those having wives act as not having them,” it does not mean that we should end marriage, but rather that each person must live his vocation always keeping in mind his final vocation: union with Christ in heaven.

We must learn to live our lives and vocations by always thinking of God’s will first, rather than our own will. When we fail to live our vocation as we ought, we must turn to the Lord in repentance and ask for strength to live our vocation as he wants us to.

Finally, in the Gospel from Mark, chapter 1, Jesus comes preaching repentance, and he calls his first disciples.

Again, we see the connection between repenting of our sins and following the vocation to which God is calling us.

Let us pray daily for the grace to know and follow God’s will in our lives, and when we fall, let us quickly return to the Lord and once again remember his mercy and love.

Sunday, Jan. 22
Third Sunday in ordinary time
• Jonah 3:1-5, 10
• 1 Corinthians 7:29-31
• Mark 1:14-20

For reflection
Read the entire book of Jonah and  open your heart to what God is calling you to do in your life.

Deacon Nick VanDenBroeke is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. His home parish is Guardian Angels in Chaska and his teaching parish is St. Charles Borromeo in St. Anthony.

Category: Sunday Scriptures