"Do you want to become saints? Here is the secret: confession is the lock; confidence in your confessor is the key. This is how you open heaven’s gates." – St John Bosco
(Scripture Text: JON 3:1-10)
The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:
“Set out for the great city of Nineveh,
and announce to it the message that I will tell you.”
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,
according to the LORD’s bidding.
Now Nineveh was an enormously large city;
it took three days to go through it.
Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day’s walk announcing,
“Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,”
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast
and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.
When the news reached the king of Nineveh,
he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe,
covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes.
Then he had this proclaimed throughout Nineveh,
by decree of the king and his nobles:
“Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep,
shall taste anything;
they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water.
Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God;
every man shall turn from his evil way
and from the violence he has in hand.
Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath,
so that we shall not perish.”
When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out.
Public figures tend to speak candidly in smaller, private gatherings of firm supporters. But when they are in front of larger groups, they paint with broader brushstrokes and use crowd-pleasing language.
Not so with Jesus!
Upon seeing a crowd swelling, he decided to challenge his audience. They were looking for a supernatural sign, but he invited them to repentance and conversion instead.
Clearly, Jesus was very generous with miracles. Over the course of his public ministry, he healed countless people, drove out demons, even brought the dead back to life. But he didn’t perform these wonders to satisfy people’s curiosity. He did it to reveal his Father’s love and power—and he did it in response to their faith. In today’s Gospel, however, Jesus could tell that the people in this crowd were in greater need of having their hearts opened, not in witnessing yet another marvel.
Jesus is speaking the same message to us today, and sometimes he speaks it very directly and pointedly. Don’t shy away when he does!
Instead, let it move you to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Come to confession so that he can shine his light on whatever darkness is lurking in your heart. Open your heart to him, trusting that he loves you too much to let you remain in a rut. His call to repentance is not a rebuke but an invitation to companionship. It’s an invitation to a new life. You don’t really need another sign, do you? Confess your sins. Embrace his mercy. As you do, you will find more than enough signs of his presence.