What is the real miracle of Jonah?

The WORD in Other Words by Fr Xene Sanchez SVD (Congo, Africa) Monday Week 28 Ordinary Time, Rom 1:16-25, Lk 11:29-32

Miracles attract people, perhaps you and me included. During the time of Jesus the majority of those who were following him were there seeking for miracles. Today‘s   Gospel tells us that the crowd‘s main motivation was to witness a miracle. To believe,   they needed to see God‘s manifestation of power through extraordinary events.   

While doing research on miracles I was struck by a commentary claiming that a good English Bible translation barely uses the word “miracle.” Jesus talked of “signs” instead of “miracles.” In the Gospels, what we consider miracles are described as “signs and wonders” or “power.” The term “miracle” is avoided especially in reference to our modern understanding of a phenomenon which defies the established laws of nature. In the Bible, Jesus‘ deeds are signs that point to something else even more important. People who seek the wrong thing will not be able to see anything. Only the true believers can perceive what God is revealing to them.   

Those who wanted to prove that a man could stay in the belly of a whale unharmed for three days completely missed the point of the story of Jonah. The real miracle of Jonah was the change of heart, the conversion of people in the city of Nineveh. The miracle was the power of the word of God that Jonah preached that led to repentance. The queen of the south traveled far to see Solomon not for miracles but to seek wisdom. Being wise is more important than satisfying one‘s curiosity.   

Jesus died, on the third day he rose again — that‘s the greatest miracle! What other signs do we need in order to be saved?

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