Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

The destruction (?) of Nineveh

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Feb 29, 2012

At Mass this morning, the homily brought me a nice new Lenten insight. Jonah--a prophet assigned by God to tell the truth--delivered his message quite plainly: "Yet forty days, and Nin'eveh shall be overthrown!" Not “might” be overthrown or “could” be overthrown, but “shall” be overthrown. There was no element of uncertainty in Jonah’s prophecy.

But 41 days later, Nineveh was intact—much to Jonah’s displeasure. What happened?

Look again. Nineveh was overthrown—by the repentance of its own people. The people and the buildings remained, but the corruption that had been the salient feature of the city was gone. The old Nineveh was gone and a new city had taken its place.

It makes no sense to pretend that this was a simple process, like throwing a switch. A community steeped in sin does not give up its vices easily. This was a wrenching experience for Nineveh, perhaps just as painful as a military defeat or a natural disaster. The people were humiliated, and the process was undoubtedly violent. Call it “creative destruction” if you will, and celebrate the results. But don’t doubt that something of Nineveh was destroyed.

Lent isn’t fun. It’s a painful process to tear away from old habits, give up familiar comforts, make extra efforts in prayer and charity. No pain, no gain. If we reach Holy Week as thoroughly transformed as the people of Nineveh, we’ll be doing well. But remember, if we do that, our lives will be overthrown.

 

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our October expenses ($33,337 to go):
$35,000.00 $1,663.25
95% 5%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

On Bishops and Jesuits, Saints and Angels 18 hours ago
Bishop Finn in Kansas City: Not quite up to date? 19 hours ago
Oh, that sort of misconduct [UPDATED] September 29
Don’t worry about terrorism; worry about workplace violence? September 29
Doing Great Things for Christ September 29

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Cardinals criticize Kasper proposal, escalating debate on remarriage/Communion CWN - September 18
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30