Wednesday, February 28, 2007

more from nineveh

Still thinking about Jonah and the Ninevites... There's line in the first reading that has always touched my imagination. It is from the King's proclamation of solemn penance: "Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth and cry loudly to God."
I always seem to picture a brown cow, mooing in distress under that itchy sackcloth. And God hears it! Because when God is defending his decision of mercy to Jonah (the prophet Jonah for the prosecution), God asks how could he not have pity on that great city and all its children, "not to mention the cattle."
As I was meditating on the Jonah reading this morning, and precisely on that line about man and beast "crying loudly to God," a siren sounded down Michigan Avenue. It was another loud cry to God on behalf of some person in trouble and need. And God hears.
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