At the mass in Ciudad Juárez the Pope compared the city to Nineveh. This is the city that Jonah is sent to preach for their conversion. Francis was simply preaching on the reading of the day. He said that Jonah was basically sent to tell them that if they didn’t change they were going to die. This was simply the natural course of events, the consequences of their sins was imminent destruction. God was sending Jonah as a voice of reason, and a loving gesture, to prevent their self-destruction. Jonah reluctantly does preach to them, and to his great surprise they all change around.
I had mentioned before that people in Juárez named the city the Gotham of Mexico as an endearing nickname, perhaps a way to cope. The more I think about the Pope’s homily the more I think of Juárez as Nineveh, and less as Gotham. New names often come with new identities in the bible. Perhaps they do so today as well.
Gotham is a city that will never recover. Is the stuff from comic books. It needs a hero because it does not care for itself. It needs an outsider. Evenmore, Batman is a hero that attempts to fight violence with violence, and if sociology and religion agree on something it is that violence begets violence. Gotham is not a place of hope. It is a place of darkness.
Nineveh, however, is a people of surprises. This is precisely the expression the Pope has used during and after his visit to Mexico to describe his time there. He has said, Mexico is the country of surprises. I don’t know exactly what he means by it, but perhaps it has something to do with the great hope I’ve been describing in previous posts. I think Juárez is a place of surprises because of how it has found its soul after the violence.
There is still work to be done in Nineveh. Juarez still needs to put into practice the many lessons it has learned. More people need to wake up, more need to take leadership in the light. Corruption is still a great problem. Nepotism is still there. However, I’d like to think of Juárez as Nineveh now, rather than the Gotham City of Mexico. I much rather the light at the end of the tunnel in the conversion that Nineveh underwent, than the constant need for a violent hero from the outside.
I thank you God for a Prophet like Jonah to a land like Nineveh in the 21st century.