THE DEATH WISH
“I would be better off dead than alive.” –Jonah 4:8
Listen to the Mass Readings
Jonah prayed: “And now, Lord, please take my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live” (Jon 4:3). Jonah wanted to die because a worm killed his shade tree and left him uncomfortably hot (Jon 4:6-8). In effect, Jonah said: “Give me comfort or give me death.” Jonah also wanted to die because the Lord forgave the Ninevites (Jon 4:1) instead of punishing them. These two reasons for wanting to die are connected.
Sometimes many of us also wish we were dead. Like Jonah, we feel sad about not having all the pleasures and comforts we want. We feel such a need for these creature comforts because of an emptiness inside. This emptiness may be a symptom of unforgiveness. When we refuse to forgive the Ninevites in our lives, we cut ourselves off from being forgiven (Mt 6:12), healed (Sir 28:2-3), and blessed. We deprive and curse ourselves. Then we try to compensate for our emptiness by stuffing ourselves with the things of the world. When we are stuffed, and consequently more empty, we become so discouraged that we wish we were dead (see Prv 13:19). Unforgiveness leads to emptiness and pleasure-seeking, which leads to more emptiness and despair. The only way to escape the death wish is to forgive by giving our lives to Jesus and repenting.
Give; forgive; be full and fulfilled; love life.
PRAYER: Father, I decide to forgive instead of being handed over to the torturers (Mt 18:34).
PROMISE: “Forgive us our sins for we too forgive all who do us wrong; and subject us not to the trial.” –Lk 11:4
PRAISE: Roger was anti-Christian. His wife attended daily Mass. Roger gave his life to Jesus on Good Friday to the joy of his wife.