Today’s first reading is about the story of Jonah. Many of us have heard this story. Ninveh was a town in sin; God asks Jonah to go there. Jonah ran away, finally reached the stomach of a whale. Finally he was vomited out by the whale and he preached to Ninveh and they converted. Jonah probably was not very happy (or even angry at this, that God was ready to forgive….). The last part was the reading of the day.
Jesus, the son of the same merciful God, tells a story of the prayers of a pharisee and a tax collector. I sometimes wonder, if Jesus has never said this story, we might have had some right to allow self-righteousness and self-justification. But sadly, Jesus explicitly mentioned this parable.
Yes, this attitude of Jonah/pharisees is very much evident in the modern world in many forms. But at the same time, I have also met innumerable people with the attitude of Jesus or God the father.
Just to give an example from France. In the present context of refugees, the response of the country may not be the best, but quite good. I sometimes help with an association/collective which gives food to the refugees. There are many French youngsters (many of them are atheists) volunteering there. Even though, the behavior of refugees may not be the best always and they may not be very very clean, the smile which the youngsters have while serving the food is amazing. They are ready to welcome these new persons (or strangers or refugees.. whatever you want to call them) to their country…..But there are many others also who think differently; this is my country. the resources of this country are for us. Please don’t come here….There are many other responses which are somewhere in between positive and negative.
I use this example of refugees only to state two varying attitudes. (There are much more dynamics to be discussed there). But the question that I wish to raise is…
In the innumerable situations of the world, the rational and logical answer (in the eyes of our mathematics and logic) may not be the answer of God. To be a Christian means, to look with the eyes of God, and to look with the rationality of God, which is also a rationality of mercy and love.
What it means to be a Christian? A Christian is the one who has seen God’s rationality — a rationality of Mercy. And he is invited to show the same to others, especially those who are different from us (whatever that word different mean in our context).