Jon 3:1-10; PS 51; Lk 11:29-32

...and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.
Images of an angry God can be found in the Hebrew Scriptures. This is somewhat deceptive. God doesn't want to punish us. He has the right and option, but not the desire. Images of his blazing wrath are mercifully, frequently countered with his loving forgiveness. If we sincerely seek the Lord's compassion, he withdraws his warning and cleanses us of our offenses. Even when we think we are seemingly beyond what we feel is the reach of redemption, the Lord reaches further with another opportunity to return to him. When the people of Nineveh were mired in sin, God sent Jonah to warn them so they would not perish. They turned from their evil ways, and God lovingly forgave them. Lent comes as a messenger like Jonah, calling us to repentance.
Gracious and merciful Father, I come to you with a humble and contrite heart.