I’m sure you’ve all heard the story of Jonah and the whale. This Sunday the first reading starts just after Jonah has escaped from the whale. He finds himself in Nineveh being called by God to go and preach. Jonah turned and ran away when he first received the call by God to go there. Biblical scholars tell us that Nineveh was a city full of crime and wickedness. Jonah didn’t see how he could fulfil what had been asked of him and was scared. However, God provided Jonah with a second chance, a second opportunity. This time Jonah did go to preach and he was very successful.
We too sometimes find ourselves in a similar position. I don’t mean that we are asked to go and preach in tricky places, but in being called by God to do something and then not responding. Perhaps the difficulty we have is not being able to recognise the call. In our daily lives we may come across situations where we can, with a bit of effort or thought make someone else’s life a little easier. God is there with us supporting us. We just need to be able to view the situation differently, see God’s presence and trust in him.
So maybe next time we are faced with a difficult situation or choice we should look to God’s presence and ask ourselves; how can I become a sign of God’s love to the person in difficulty? How can I help the lonely, those in sorrow, the needy and the discouraged? It’s in our human nature to be afraid of failure. We can take comfort that Jonah who failed at the first call went on to do great things.
Let us be reassured that as with Jonah, God invites us to a new response, when we fail to respond to his call he gives us new opportunities. Let us grasp them wholeheartedly when they occur, so that we to can do his work.