LENT, Week 1: Wednesday

“So Jonah set out for Nineveh, in accord with the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an awesomely great city; it took three days to walk through it. ” (Jonah 3:3.)

Saint Augustine of Hippo comments on this verse from the First Reading proclaimed at Mass today:

“Why, then, are we asked what was prefigured by the prophet being swallowed by that monster and restored alive on the third day? Christ explained it when he said an evil and adulterous generation seeks a sign, and a sign shall not be given to it, but the sign of Jonah the prophet. For as Jonah was in the whale’s belly three days and three nights, so shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. So then, as Jonah went from the ship into the belly of the whale, so Christ went from the tree into the tomb, or into the abyss of death. And as Jonah was sacrificed for those endangered by the storm, so Christ was offered for those who are drowning in the storm of this world. And as Jonah was first commanded to preach to the Ninevites but his prophecy did not come to them until after the whale had vomited him out, so the prophecy made to the Gentiles did not come to them until after the resurrection of Christ.” (Letter 102)

Look kindly, Lord, we pray,
on the devotion of your people,
that those who by self-denial are restrained in body
may by the fruit of good works be renewed in mind.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen