couch potatoes and reality tv
"Jonah then left the city...to see what would happen to the city." —Jonah 4:5
Jonah wanted to see Nineveh go down in flames. Moreover, he wanted to see it in comfort. He prefigures the modern TV-watcher who gets upset when the remote stops working, or the air conditioner breaks down, or the TV reception breaks up. All the while he looks forward to watching people suffer. When Jesus says to "be on the watch" (Lk 21:36), He doesn't mean to watch TV or watch others suffer. He wants us to watch out for our soul and for His guidance.
Jesus taught us to pray: "Do not subject us to the final test" (see Lk 11:4 in the Greek). Jonah wanted to see Nineveh "fail the final test," and he wanted to watch in comfort. You can almost hear Jonah munching on his chips like a "couch potato" watching a "reality TV" show. When the Ninevites repented and Jonah's "reality TV" show didn't end as he wanted, heaven rejoiced (Lk 15:7, 10) but he fumed (see Jon 4:1, 9).
Many of us have a Jonah lurking inside us. We sit back and watch the TV, wanting to watch some people be punished, fail, or lose — and we want to see it all in comfort. If the program doesn't turn out as we wish, we get upset. God twice asked Jonah: "Have you reason to be angry?" (Jon 4:4, 9) Is the Lord asking us the same question?
Jesus calls us to rise up from the couch, stop being a spectator, and serve God. Change reality. Repent!
Prayer: "Father, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins" (Lk 11:2-4).
Promise: "You, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in kindness to all who call upon You." —Ps 86:5
Praise: St. Denis obediently evangelized the Franks. In return, they beheaded him. He laid down his life for them (Jn 15:13).
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
(For a related teaching, order our leaflet, TV Addiction.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, May 22, 2013
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