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Home » Daily Gospel, Daily Readings, Old Testament, Prophets

Merciful and Gracious God

Submitted by on Wednesday, 5 October 2011No Comment

jonah-gourdplant-sm

Today’s Readings

  • Reading I:  Jonah 4:1-11
  • Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 86
  • Gospel Reading: Luke 11:1-4

I Knew That Your Were A Gracious and Merciful God

Jonah resented the fact that Nineveh should be spared. It was a future enemy after all — one that would cause the destruction of Israel. He wished that despite his preaching, the Ninevites would go on with their god-less lives and be destroyed by the wrath of God. But inspite of Jonah, the Ninevites repented. Jonah expresses the reason for his resentment thus:

This is why I fled at first to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, rich in clemency, loathe to punish.

cucurbita-lagenaria-sm Jonah, in fact, is like those who think that God is unfair when he allows the sinner to repent and live (cf. Ezekiel 18:25-29). Perhaps, Ezekiel 18 is the inspiration for the story of Jonah, only this time it is applied to an international setting.

The lesson of the gourd plant — one that grows quickly and then dies as quickly — serves to highlight the narrow-mindedness of Jonah. He regrets losing the plant because it gave him shade, but he does not think much of the Ninevites who are far more valuable to God’s eyes than a gourd plant.

More about Jonah’s Gourd Plant

The Disciples’ Prayer

Luke’s version of the Our Father is much shorter than that found in Matthew (6:9ff) and placed in a context that is quite similar. Matthew includes the Lord’s Prayer within the Sermon On The Mount, making it paradigmatic prayer of the Disciple. In the Matthaean version, Jesus instructs his disciples to pray in the same spirit as he prays (houtos) Luke on the other hand places the Lord’s Prayer as Jesus journeys towards Jerusalem, and turns it into a distinctive prayer for the disciples. He also tells them it should be their prayer (otan proseucesqe legete) Because it is much shorter and simpler in Luke, some scholars regard it as at least the one closer to the original.

Some years back, a Spanish bible scholar translating Luke’s Greek back into Aramaic rendered pater as Abba. "Abba" is undoubtedly a ipsissimum verbum Iesu (the very word of Jesus). Even Paul, preaching to the Gentiles, has been struck by it to such an extent that he even incorporates it into his doctrine of the Christian’s filiation (cf. Galatians 4:6; Romans 8:15). Seeing that Luke was writing within the Pauline tradition, and that Paul has these two texts wherein he has pater translating "Abba", our scholar was prompted to "retrotranslate" Luke 11:2’s pater as "Abba". If our bible scholar has hit upon the original wording of the Lord’s prayer — at least in this place — then we can safely say two things: (a) the Lord is passing on his own way of addressing the Father, and (b) the Lord, invites his own disciples to enjoy the same intimacy that he has with the Father.

More from The Bible Journal

Jonah 4:1-11
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
1And Jonas was exceedingly troubled, and was angry:
2And he prayed to the Lord, and said: I beseech thee, O Lord, is not this what I said, when I was yet in my own country? therefore I went before to flee into Tharsis: for I know that thou art a gracious and merciful God, patient, and of much compassion, and easy to forgive evil.
3And now, O Lord, I beseech thee take my life from me: for it is better for me to die than to live.
4And the Lord said: Dost thou think thou hast reason to be angry?
5Then Jonas went out of the city, and sat toward the east side of the city: and he made himself a booth there, and he sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would befall the city.
6And the Lord God prepared an ivy, and it came up over the head of Jonas, to be a shadow over his head, and to cover him (for he was fatigued), and Jonas was exceeding glad of the ivy.
7But God prepared a worm, when the morning arose on the following day: and it struck the ivy and it withered.
8And when the sun was risen, the Lord commanded a hot and burning wind: and the sun beat upon the head of Jonas, and he broiled with the heat: and he desired for his soul that he might die, and said: It is better for me to die than to live.
9And the Lord said to Jonas: Dost thou think thou hast reason to be angry, for the ivy? And he said: I am angry with reason even unto death.
10And the Lord said: Thou art grieved for the ivy, for which thou hast not laboured, nor made it to grow, which in one night came up, and in one night perished.
11And shall not I spare Ninive, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons that know not how to distinguish between their right hand and their left, and many beasts?
Luke 11:1-4
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
1And it came to pass, that as he was in a certain place praying, when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him: Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
2And he said to them: When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come.
3Give us this day our daily bread.
4And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.
Ezekiel 18:25-29
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
25And you have said: The way of the Lord is not right. Hear ye, therefore, O house of Israel: Is it my way that is not right, and are not rather your ways perverse?
26For when the just turneth himself away from his justice, and committeth iniquity, he shall die therein: in the injustice that he hath wrought he shall die.
27And when the wicked turneth himself away from his wickedness, which he hath wrought, and doeth judgment, and justice: he shall save his soul alive.
28Because he considereth and turneth away himself from all his iniquities which he hath wrought, he shall surely live, and not die.
29And the children of Israel say: The way of the Lord is not right. Are not my ways right, O house of Israel, and are not rather your ways perverse?
Galatians 4:6
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
6And because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying: Abba, Father.
Romans 8:15
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
15For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear; but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba (Father).
Luke 11:2
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
2And he said to them: When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come.

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