Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Winter Storm Jonas and the New Nineveh

There aren't forty days until the meteorologists' prophecies are expected to come to pass (no meteorologist would dare make such a long-term prediction!). Instead, we have about three days until Winter Storm Jonas descends upon the Nineveh of Washington DC. Even now, thousands of cheerful prophets (so unlike the original Jonas--or Jonah as he is more commonly thought of) are packing and planning for Friday's March for Life which will take place regardless of the weather (though organizers are warning participants about the expected storm).
Open wide! Jonas takes a dive in this 16th century ms.

The DC area is not too good handling ordinary snowfall, and Jonas is making the meteorologists so giddy it is worth being concerned for the young people (they are mostly young people) who participate in the March and in the surrounding events.

Friday is also a day of Prayer and Penance in reparation for sins against human life. The US bishops have asked us to pray, fast and give alms (or perform other works of mercy) on this anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that opened the way to legalized abortion. When the people of old Nineveh heard Jonah's message, they repented, "and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth" (Jon 3:5-10). Given that we are all one body, one human family, there is no way to determine here on earth where my own sins contributed to the weakness of the whole in a way that fostered the conditions we are trying to make up for. An act of selfishness on my part contributes to a more selfish climate for everyone. A curt dismissal contributes to a lowering of respect for those who "don't measure up". Exploitation of another person's weakness confirms society's tendency to manipulate those whom it can and eliminate those it cannot. Acts of penance are not only a way of making up in some way for sins "other people" committed; it is an acknowledgement that "all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23).

If you go to Mass on Friday, you will see the priest wearing the violet vestments representing repentance. You may not be out in the cold this Friday, but how will you raise (and heed) the voice of Jonas in the Nineveh of the 21st century?

Southerners need to know that "boots" does not mean
"rain boots" or galoshes or even fashionably warm
Uggs, but actual snow boots: waterproof, lined,
not really cute snow boots. (Thanks to the Students
for Life for the great infographic!)

1 comment:

Angie Briest said...

the worse the storm is the better for more mainstream coverage...and so better for the pro-life movement. high winds over a foot of snow and in dc metro..lots of inexperienced (young) people...sounds like it can get dangerous which would draw the media in even closer.. so pro-lifers,if the show goes on, then why not pray the heaven's drop as much snow as all the babies in heaven that were aborted.