My Beloved the Benevolent
Grace and Peace, wishing you all goodness and blessings, protected by the mighty hand of God Who takes care of all people and manages all matters according to His good will.
This year we begin Jonah’s Fast on Monday, February 22nd for a period of three days, and on Thursday, February 25th, we celebrate Jonah’s Feast. Jonah’s Fast reminds us of the repentance and fasting of the people of Nineveh, as well as Jonah’s repentance and his fasting and prayers in the belly of the whale, as mentioned in the Book of Jonah.
The Book of Jonah reveals to us the beautiful qualities of our good Lord, the lover of mankind, the Pantocrator. I would like to meditate with you on the care of God that was shown in this book that we feel and need, especially in these days.
+God takes care of mankind. When He created man, He took great care of him and created him in His image and likeness and put him in the Garden of Eden. He gave a commandment to protect him from falling into evil and created Eve to be a helper comparable to him. When Adam fell, God did not leave him, but promised salvation by sending the prophets, and giving mankind both the natural law and the Mosaic law, which encompassed prophecy, rituals and sacrifices as a shadow of the good things to come. In the fullness of time, God sent His Son who was incarnate for the sake of our salvation, died on the cross to defeat sin by sacrificing Himself, arose and raised us with Him. He opened the gates of paradise to us and sent us the Holy Spirit to sanctify and lead us in the life of holiness so that we may complete our strife on earth and have a share in the kingdom of heaven.
+ The loving God took care of the people of Nineveh and sent the prophet Jonah to warn them, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” Jonah 3:4 and the gentile people of Nineveh responded, “So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.” Jonah 3:5. God had compassion and mercy on them, “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.” Jonah 3:10
+The loving God, cared for the prophet Jonah who did not obey His command to go to Nineveh at first, but fled to Tarshish, “But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord,” Jonah 1:3 God did not leave Jonah in his evil, but He sent out a mighty tempest on the sea so the ship nearly broke and the efforts of the mariners failed to save it; they questioned who would be the cause of this trouble. Jonah ended up finding himself in the belly of the whale, which God arranged to swallow but not destroy him, “Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights.” Jonah 1:17. Jonah offered repentance and prayed a deep prayer in the belly of the whale and God accepted his repentance. He went to Nineveh and proclaimed destruction, but was displeased with the repentance of the people of Nineveh, and was very sad and grieved as he told God, “for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!” Jonah 4:2-3 Jonah benefited from God’s mercy and long-suffering, God did not punish Jonah for his disobedience and failure to fulfill His command to go to Nineveh. God prepared the whale for him, accepted his repentance, even returned him to his rank as a prophet and sent him to Nineveh. Jonah believed that God only takes care of and has mercy on the children of Israel; and these gentile people do not deserve God’s mercy but deserve His anger and punishment instead. Thus, he did not rejoice in their repentance and escape from punishment. Jonah asked God to take his life from him, for it is better for him to die than to live. God in his love for Jonah did not respond to his request, because if he had died in the state of sadness and anger, he was in, he would have perished eternally. God, in his love, dealt with Jonah’s anger objectively and with patience; explaining to him through the plant that He is the God of all and Who loves all and takes care of all His creation. So, the conclusion of The Book of Jonah is of God saying to Jonah, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left – and much livestock?” Jonah 4:10-11.
We learn from The Book of Jonah the following:
1. God takes care of everyone; Those who believe in Him and those who do not believe in Him. The righteous and the wicked. All beings, even animals, because He is the creator of all.
2. God takes care of everyone because He is a good God, beneficent and merciful; and not because we deserve His care. God’s care does not change with man’s change, but He takes care of everyone in different ways according to each one’s needs.
3. God’s care is aimed at the salvation of man, because He wants everyone to be saved, and to accept the way of righteousness.
4. God takes care of all the spiritual, social, and economic needs of man; He cares about the needs of the soul and the body, because He is the creator of the soul and the creator of the body.
5. We need to take the example from God and take care of each other’s needs.
May God always have compassion and care for us and grant us to care for each other and bless your offerings to support Santa Verena Charity Programs.