In today’s first reading, Jonah 3:1-10, Jonah enters the city of Nineveh. He delivers God’s message to this city, telling the residents that “[f]orty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed.” The people took heed of Jonah’s message, believing that, in truth, God would destroy their city because of its wickedness. A fast was proclaimed. The “great and small put on sackcloth.” The king and his nobles issued a decree, saying: “Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep, shall taste anything; they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water. Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God; every man shall turn from his evil way and from the violence he has in hand. Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath, so that we shall not parish.” And God “repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.”
The U.S.A. is Nineveh! Do we, as a nation, not need to repent of and turn away from “evil…and from the violence” being leveled upon immigrants, refugees, the unborn, and persons who are victims of human traffickers, drug traffickers, and of the slave industry? Do we not need to rethink government proposals to line the pockets of the rich, to create more billionaires and to perpetuate the arms race? Is it possible that millions of people may be without health insurance and millions of immigrants may be deported (a deportation that may separate children from their parents) all because of the high probability of false information upon which many legislative actions are being promulgated? Are we citizens of the U.S. not in danger of believing lies that are broadcasted over and over again and which will likely bring disaster to ourselves and our neighbors?
Is it possible that unless we sincerely repent of our wrongdoing, cry out to the Lord for mercy and forgiveness and right our wrongs, that we, like Nineveh, could be destroyed?