St John XXIII, Pope, pray for us
27th Week in Ordinary Time : Wednesday 11th October 2023
Jona 4:1-11; Ps. 85:3-4,5-6,9-10;
Lk. 11:1-4 (Ps. Wk. III)
There is a difference between “willingness” and “wilfulness”. Both concern the will. The difference lies in the egocentric forces of wilfulness and the outward grace of willingness.
Willingness notices this wonder of life and bows in reverence to it. Wilfulness forgets it, ignores it, or at its worst, actively tries to destroy it.
Prophet Jonah has this issue. Nary, a doubt is he of little will. Indeed he is so full of will that he wants to control outcomes and deals with God as if he is entitled to the many things in life.
He undergoes many travails – thrown overboard into the raging sea, swallowed by a large fish, remained in the belly for three days, and spewed wondrously upon the shore. He will give praise of thanksgiving (cf. Jonah 2). But yet, he does not learn to appreciate the wonder of the nature of God – a God of compassion and mercy. He remained wilful and ungrateful. The Book of Jonah ends with him sulking, and God exhorts him to go beyond his egocentric attitude.
A contrast is seen in the attitude one should have in praying the Pater Noster – a prayer of submission and gratitude; a prayer of creaturehood; a prayer of wonderment; and a prayer of willingness. Jesus mastered this prayer and became the personification of His prayer to His Father. Perhaps, we could portray Jonah as one who recovers the outward grace of willingness.
Lord, may we imbibe the grace of the ‘Our Father’.