Psalm 86:3-4, 5-6, 9-10
One of my favorite Sunday summer activities as a boy was to
with the family “down” the Jersey Shore (the “to” is dropped in the
County dialect), spend the day with my favorite aunt, uncle and cousins
swim in the ocean. One Sunday I remember being “picked on” by my
sister just before we left for the drive back up to Bayonne. My
became very annoyed at her and promised a punishment when she got
This pleased me to no end and I was full of happy anticipation.
Well, the traffic was really bad that Sunday along Route 35 and we sat
sat in a long line of cars. Besides, we were a family of
at heart so we had to frequently pull off the road to sample local
watermelon from the fruit stand, soft ice cream from the ice cream
and, best of all for me, smoked fish from the fish stand. I
chubs and whiting more golden than if Midas himself put the squeeze on
and fragrant oil running down my chin as I devoured the tender smoked
as my mother yelled for me to watch for the bones….
But I digress – and am forgetting the story I’m telling—which is
what my father did when we got home to Bayonne. He was so tired
the very long drive and so very full of fish/ice cream/watermelon/ all
off by tender sweet fried clams at Howard Johnsons that he forgot all
my sister’s promised punishment. But I didn’t forget!!! I
to him that he carry through until it was pretty clear that he would
me for annoying HIM! I dropped the issue and settled for the last
chub in the bag!
I like Jonah. I’m actually a Jonah kinda guy although I have
time in the belly of a big fish. I suspect we are all like Jonah,
people to get their “just desserts” and “come uppens” like Jonah wanted
the Ninevites, a people whom I suspected invented that expensive hand
they sell in the better stores.
Fortunately God is more forgiving than we are. Fortunately for my
too, she behaved better on the trip up from the shore and my own father
When we pray the “Our Father” we put ourselves on the line—we ask
but also pledge to be people of forgiveness. This was not easy
for Jonah nor is it easy for us, especially when we are convinced of
our own righteousness.
But who of us is totally righteous? Or who of us are so perfect
can even spell the term? I had to rely on the spell checker
Not my older sister.
My mother always told me: If you want to make a friend be a
The readings today tell us: If you want God’s forgiveness, forgive
Seems simple enough, no?
Now all I have to do is find a good place in Omaha to buy smoked fish!