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Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the crowds who seek a sign that they will only receive the sign of Jonah: “Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.”

Jonah is called by God to preach to Nineveh, which is described as an enormously large city. It takes, they say, three days to walk through it. I can’t help but think of Nineveh as one of our large, modern cities, a center of all sorts of worldly activity and preoccupation.

What would its conversion look like? A turning back to God as the only enduring good. After hearing the word of Jonah, the Ninevites proclaim a fast, and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth. What is the purpose of these ascetic practices? To wean people away from an attachment to worldly pleasures.

Go beyond the mind that you have. Repent. Live as though nothing in this world finally matters. And you will be living in the kingdom of God!