Daily Reflection
March 8th, 2006

Roc O'Connor, S.J.

Campus Ministry and Theology
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Jonah 3:1-10
Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19
Luke 11:29-32

“But, everybody else is doing it!”

How often have we either said these words or heard these words. Especially those who have or have had teenagers undoubtedly have heard this said ad nauseam. Usually, we say such a thing to indicate that others are doing something fun, slightly immoral, or probably illegal and we want to do it, too! We made this argument to strengthen our argument so that it might increase the chances our parents or high school teachers would grant permission to us to follow suit.

It seems to me that the point of the story from Jonah is that “everybody else is doing it!” In fact, even the evil Babylonians are doing it! Problem is, they are doing something that is not fun, hardly immoral, and by no means illegal. They are repenting from their evil ways and from “the violence in hand.” Who wants to do that?

Not me. Not really. Well, maybe.

I am writing this on the Monday before Ash Wednesday. People have asked me, “What are you going to give up for Lent?” My good-humored answer is, “I’m just going to give up.” There’s some wisdom there actually, as in, “I’m going to give up rushing around like a crazy person in order to listen to what the Word of God has to say this season.”

The stories of repentance in the gospels have to do with a joyful turning back to God at Jesus’ invitation. That’s what I’m talking about. That’s what I desire. That’s what I want to pray for this Lent.

I desire and need signs of repentance from my brothers and sisters in the Church. I am learning I cannot do this on my own. Lord knows I’ve tried. I need and desire to see that “everybody else is doing it!” I hope for that support and want to offer that sort of support to others.

Let us pray for perseverance for ourselves and for each other that we may turn to God and discover the mystery of joy and freedom in that turning. After all, “everybody else is doing it,” right? You?

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