I have just finished reading the biblical story of the prophet Jonah, a myth from the Old Testament. The book of Jonah is different from the other prophetic books of the Bible. Typically, prophets issued warnings or gave instructions to the people of Israel. Instead, God told Jonah to evangelize in the city of Nineveh, home of Israel's cruellest enemy. Jonah didn't want those idolaters to be saved, so he ran away. When Jonah ran from the call of God, one of the oddest events in the Bible occurred—the story of Jonah and the Great Fish. The story goes like this:
Jonah doesn't like his duty, so he tries to flee from God on a ship - Jonah 1:1-14. To calm a storm, the crew throws Jonah into the sea, where he is swallowed by a great fish God provided - Jonah 1:15-16. In the belly of the fish for three days, Jonah cries out to God, repents, and swears to carry out his mission. The fish vomits him onto dry land - Jonah 1:17-2:10. Jonah preaches in Nineveh and the people repent. God spares them - Jonah 3:1-10. Angry at God's compassion, Jonah complains when a vine that had shaded him dies. God scolds Jonah for being more concerned with a vine than the 120,000 souls in Nineveh - Jonah 4:1-11. Wow! That is some story, but there was something in it for me. I often don’t want to do what I know I should do. For example, I often leave my assignments to the last minute. I sometimes call in sick when I know I have an exam. I put off doing important things until, like Jonah, I feel swallowed up in guilt and self-pity. AND I have a real tendency to blame others for my misfortune. At least reading the Jonah story, I have time to change my attitude and actions. Like Cathrine McAuley, I must be good today, and better tomorrow.