Gospel: Lk 10:25-37
Then a teacher of the law came and began putting Jesus to the test. And he said, ”Master, what shall I do to receive eternal life?” Jesus re plied, ”What is written in the law? How do you understand it?” The man answered, ”It is written: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus replied, ”What a good answer! Do this and you shall live.” The man wanted to justify his question, so he asked, ”Who is my neighbor?”
Jesus then said, ”There was a man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him, beat him and went off, leaving him half-dead.
It happened that a priest was going along that road and saw the man, but passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite saw the man, and passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan also was going that way; and when he came upon the man, he was moved with compassion. He went over to him, and cleaned his wounds with oil and wine, and wrapped them in bandages. Then he put him on his own mount, and brought him to an inn, where he took care of him.
The next day, he had to set off; but he gave two silver coins to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him, and whatever you spend on him, I will repay when I return.‘”
Jesus then asked, ”Which of these three, do you think, made himself neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The teacher of the law answered, ”The one who had mercy on him.” And Jesus said, ”Then go and do the same.”
What happened to Jonah in the first reading, reminds me of the prophet Jeremiah. He was called by God: ”I chose before I gave you life and before you were born I selected you to be a prophet to the nations (Jer. 1:5). Jeremiah was refusing the Lord: ”I do not know how to speak: I am too young” (Jer.1:6). The Lord did not accept Jeremiah‘s reason. The Lord said to him: ”Do not say you are too young… I send you and tell them everything I command you” Jer.1:7). Jonah was running away from the Lord because he did not want to go to Nineveh and to preach to the Ninevites as the Lord has asked him. He wanted to escape to Tarshish. However, the Lord did something to pursue his plan. A turbulent storm prohibited him to pursue his plan. For the safety of everyone on the boat, he was thrown into the sea. The Lord however, sent a large fish and swallowed him. After three days the fish spewed Jonah on the shore of Nineveh. There he preached as the Lord planned. The people repented and adored the Lord.
It is far from the mind of God to be vindictive. He allows evil things to happen not as a punishment but as means to realize His plan. Take note, God‘s plan is different from ours. But it is best for us. What happened to Jonah simply showed that God has the plan and is determined to pursue it until it is done. To fulfill it, He calls each one to be his collaborator. Each one has his own calling, a vocation, a task to perform. That call makes each one a unique person, an irreplaceable one, a precious treasure. No matter how little we can do and give. It will always count.