GREATER THAN SOLOMON AND JONAH
“This generation is an evil generation” (Lk 11:29b). These words of Jesus are very appropriate for today’s generation. There is unprecedented evil in the world. We see the holocaust of the unborn, the incessant assault on marriage and family, the attacks on faith and on our Catholic Church, the rampaging of the culture of death upon the whole face of the earth.
What is the solution? It is massive evangelization. People need to meet Christ, live Christ and share Christ. Now more than ever this is greatly possible. The word of God has been preached since before Jesus, then by Jesus, and now by us in the name of Jesus. But today we have resources unknown in ancient days. And so today there is the call to the New Evangelization.
Jonah was used by God to effectively preach repentance to the Ninevites. Then the Son of Man came and it became God Himself preaching repentance. Then Jesus sent us his Spirit in order that we might preach repentance. First it was God with Jonah, then God the Father and God the Son in Jesus, now finally the Trinity in and through us. That is a much greater force for evangelization.
Further, the queen of the south “came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon” (Lk 11:31b), a wisdom that was a gift from God. Then with Jesus, he himself is Wisdom personified. Now we have the Spirit of truth who guides us to all truth, who takes what is from Jesus and the Father (Jn 16:13-15). Today indeed “there is something greater than Solomon here.” (Lk 11:31c).
Still further, “at the preaching of Jonah they repented” (Lk 11:32b). But Jonah was an inexperienced and reluctant preacher. At heart he did not even want the Ninevites to repent. When he was successful in his mission, he was displeased, angry and even wanted to die. Jonah preached God’s message, then Jesus himself became the message, and now we are equipped with God’s own Spirit to proclaim salvation in Jesus. We have the Bible, the Church, the catechism, and bountiful resources to support the work of evangelization. Today indeed “there is something greater than Jonah here.” (Lk 11:32c).
God has provided everything we need for the New Evangelization. There are greater resources–electronic copies of the Bible, Internet links to Catholic teachings and writings, the accumulated wisdom of the Church through the ages. There are greater means–jet travel to any part of the world, social media that can reach millions in an instant, financial resources, networking among Church groups.
God used a reluctant prophet. Think what God can do with eager, zealous and committed evangelizers. God gave Solomon wisdom. Think what God can do with one who is similarly gifted with wisdom, which is a free gift of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:8a). God touched the hearts of the Ninevites with one proclamation. Think what God can do to bring the nations of the world to repentance, if only we too proclaim the gospel to them.
The call to the New Evangelization has been sounded. Let us respond.