Some Thoughts on the Third Sunday after Epipany
(Proper 3, Year B)
25 January AD 2009
25 January AD 2009
Time got the better of me this week, and I have only been able to prepare a few notes, which I hope may be of use.
Once again our theme is vocation, God’s call to us. Unlike last Sunday, when we heard how the boy Samuel had to learn that the voice he heard in the night was God’s, and when he knew this he responded favourably, this week we hear part of the story of the prophet Jonah (3.1-5,10), who had no doubt that God was calling him, and ran as far as he could to escape the call
It is no longer generally accepted that the Book of Jonah is an historical document concerning Jonah, son of Amittai, who is mentioned in 2 Kings 14.25. However, this opinion is not the result of doubts about the miraculous elements in the book, such as the great fish, but on more mundane evidence of the language and style, which suggest a much later date.
Sgnificant use of Jonah is made in the Gospels: see Mt 12.38-41 and Lk 11.29-32.
Read today, the passage from Jonah prepares us for the summary of Jesus’ ministry in the opening of the Gospek passage, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel."
The climax of the passage, in which God changes his mind about the destruction of Nineveh, is teaching also found in Jeremiah (18.8; 26.1-3; 36.2-3: 2) and Ezekiel (18.21-22:): see also Joel 2.13-14.
The reading from 1 Corinthians (7.29-31) is on a different tack. In this brief snippet from a much longer discussion in which St Paul responded to matters that the Corinthian community had written to him, first matters of marriage. Addressing the unmarried, he says that because the return of Christ was fast approaching it would be better that no one change their condition. In the verses we hear this morning this is broadend to becone a statement of the doctrine of detachment: let “those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it.” For, says Paul. “the form of this world is passing away”