Every man shall turn from his evil way
and from the violence he has in hand. Jonah 3:8
This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation. Luke 11:29-30
(From Psalm 51)
Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness; in your abundant compassion blot out my offense. Wash away all my guilt; from my sin cleanse me.
For I know my offense; my sin is always before me no matter how much I try to walk in your path. Against you alone have I sinned; I have done such evil in your sight that you are just in your sentence, blameless when you condemn me.
Create for me a clean heart, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit.
Do not drive me from your presence, nor take from me your holy spirit.
Restore my joy in your salvation; sustain in me a willing spirit.
I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you.
Rescue me from death, God, that my tongue may praise your healing power.
Lord, open my lips; my mouth will proclaim your praise.
For you do not desire sacrifice; a burnt offering you would not accept.
My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit; God, do not spurn a broken, humbled heart. Amen.
The tone of the readings today sets up a turning point in the Gospel of Luke. Until now, there have been two reactions to Jesus and his words and works recorded by St. Luke. First, some have begun to see him as the Messiah, the Son of God. However, others see him doing the work of Satan.
To those who turn their backs on His message, Jesus has some harsh words and condemnation. The preaching that begins in today’s Gospel calls on the latter group to repent. However, rather than repenting, after the confrontation in Luke 11, they start to plot against Jesus.
The “sign of Jonah” in Luke is the preaching of the need for repentance by a prophet who comes from afar. While the people of Nineva did turn from their evil ways, many people in
What evil ways does Jesus single out? What makes up his social critique of the day?
· Turning away from God by “not hearing the word of God and observing it.” (11:28)
· Choosing to remain “in darkness” (11:35-36)
· Envy and “being filled with feelings of evil and plunder” (11:39)
· Ignorance of paying “no attention to judgment and to love for God. These you should have done, without overlooking the others.” (11:42)
· The pride of loving “the seat of honor in synagogues and greetings in marketplaces.” (11:43)
· Leading others astray like making people walk “over unseen graves” (11:43)
· The injustice of “imposing on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.” (11:46)
· You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter." (11:52)
Jesus connects the mission of the church (apostles) with the mission of the Old Testament prophets like Jonah who often suffered the rebuke of their contemporaries. How is our mission today connected with these same social sins?
If Jesus were here today, how might he critique our organized religion, our politics, our evil ways, our culture of violence?
Just look at the winners in the Oscars and imagine what Jesus might conclude about our evil ways. Films like “The Last King of Scotland,” “The Departed,” and “Letters from
Look at the local, national and international headlines in today’s newspaper.
· Employers are singled out for giving jobs to immigrants
· Americans worry about how our savings is affected by the 400+ point drop in the stock exchange and the drop in the value of our homes
· Suspects are named in war crimes in
· One 18-year old kid from
· Road rage escalates with “missiles” and arrests of people for throwing drinks and cups at cars who cut in front of them on local highways
How can we overcome the ignorance, envy, pride and other social sins Jesus takes exception with? How can we work to lead people down the right path and to paying attention to love for God? How can we regain the humility needed as Christians to spur fancy settings and tributes?