“After John was arrested”, Herod and Herodias thought they had silenced the voice of truth as they tried to bury their conscience in the false life they created for themselves. The roaring voice of John disappeared from the wilderness and his baptism was halted. Human wickedness germinates in the secret of the heart but spreads to overshadow the light of truth. In the face of this hanging gloom, as John was suddenly plucked off, Jesus appeared in Galilee, “Preaching the Gospel of God, and saying, ‘the time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the Gospel.’”
The message of Jesus declares the nearness of the Kingdom and at once invites people to it. Those who tried to silence the voice of truth by arresting John would discover that they wasted their time, for, not only is truth consistent, but it grows and spreads! As John’s arrest opened the way for Jesus to declare the Gospel, so the wickedness of the people of Nineveh necessitated the call of Jonah. He became his mission with a sadist heart and gloomy face by being judgmental against the evil in Nineveh. But he learned in a hard way that He was called to evoke repentance and open them up to God’s mercy. Through Jonah’s prophetic mission, the wickedness of Nineveh gave way to God’s showers of mercy!
Thus, we cannot separate hearing the word of God from accepting the invitation it immediately offers. As Jesus called Peter and his brother Andrew, James and his brother John, so he calls us each time we hear His word. In the face of the evils of our society, God is calling men and women through whom His mercy will supersede. Jonah learned to drop his pride and prejudice behind, the fishermen brothers of Galilee abandoned their trade and family to answer the call. The quick spread of evil reminds us of the urgency of the call: “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” For us to be available and effective voices of truth, we must detach ourselves from earthly values and things of this world by focusing on the nearness of God’s Kingdom and the urgency of the call of the Gospel. “For the form of this world is passing away.”
May the mercy of God be upon us this day; as we place all our trust in Him. Amen.
Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church,
Sunday, January 24th, 2021