Wednesday of the First week of Lent
"...and there is something greater than Jonah here"
Saint Clement of Alexandria (150- c.215), theologian
Against the Heathen (Protreptikos), ch. 10 (trans. Ante-Nicene Fathers of the Church rev.)
"At the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here"
Let us therefore repent, and pass from ignorance to true knowledge, from foolishness to wisdom, from unrighteousness to righteousness, from godlessness to God. The enjoyment of many other good things comes from this, to which God Himself alludes, speaking by Isaiah: “There is an inheritance for those who serve the Lord” (54,17). Not gold and silver, nor that which moth destroys and thieves steal (Mt 6.19), but the inestimable treasure of salvation… This is the inheritance with which God’s eternal covenant invests us, assuring us of his gifts; and thus our tenderly loving Father ceases not to exhort, to train, to love and to save us. “Become righteous,” says the Lord. “All you who are thirsty, come to the water; and you who have no money, come; buy without money and drink (Is 55,1). He invites us to the purifying bath, to salvation, to illumination… The saints of the Lord shall inherit the glory of God and his power, a glory which “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, and which has not entered the human heart” (1Cor 2,9)…
You have this divine promise of grace; you have heard, on the other hand, of the threats of punishment: by these two ways the Lord saves... Why do we delay? Why do we not receive the free gift? Why do we not choose the better part?... “Behold,” he says, “I have set before you death and life.” (Dt 30,15) The Lord tries to make you choose life.” He counsels you like a father…
To whom shall the Lord say, “Yours is the kingdom of heaven”? (Mt 5,3) It is yours if you want it, if your choice is set on God. It is yours, if you will only believe and follow the essence of the message, just as the Ninevites obeyed the message of the prophet and obtained a gracious salvation thanks to their sincere repentance, instead of the destruction that threatened them.