Whales Tales


The Readings for Wednesday in the 1st Week of Lent (B2)

Et factum est verbum Domini ad Jonam secundo.
And the word of the Lord came to Jonas the second time.

The first words in the Book of the Prophet Jonas are “Et factum est verbum Domini ad Jonam…” and there follows two chapters of Jonas running away from God. There’s a boat. And there’s a whale of a storm. And there’s a whale, of course. Then there’s a long Lament that makes everyone so sad that the whale spits out the mournful prophet. And none of that is the point. In fact, if you get hung up in the first two chapters, debating where Jonas was in all this or where the sea was or how big was the whale, then you’re totally going to miss the point. The whale’s a red herring.

But then there is “Et factum est verbum Domini ad Jonam, secundo….  (it does the same thing in Hebrew, the same opening repeated with the addition of only one word.) This is one of the best punchlines in the Bible. 


God loves to give second chances.  In fact, the whole book of Jonas is about Second Chances. The whole city of Nineveh gets a second chance. And Jonas does too. 


Almost, when Jesus talks about the Sign of Jonas, I can hear him say, “This generation will be given a second chance…”

Today’s verse before the Gospel get us into the act:

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart
for I am gracious and merciful.

So what path have you walked down that you thought was so right… but turned out being wrong. How far did you make it before turning back? 

Author: Huw Raphael

A Dominican Tertiary living in San Francisco, CA. He is almost 59. He feeds the homeless as a parochial almoner and is studying to be a Roman Catholic Deacon. He is learning modern Israeli Hebrew and enjoys cooking, keto, cats, long urban hikes, and SF Beer Week.

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