The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” Then he left them, got into the boat again, and went off to the other shore. (Mark 8: 11-13)
We have all seen a movie or TV show or read a book when one of the characters demands proof before moving on.
So too in today’s Gospel. The Pharisees were the perennial negative critics of Jesus. They were the many little crosses He had to accept and carry every day prior to His big cross. Notice how they boldly stepped forward here and immediately started to argue with Jesus. They refused to take the Lord’s words at face value. They claimed a sign from the heavens would enable them to place their faith in the Lord, but Jesus knew that even the most spectacular signs would not convince them to accept him as the promised Messiah and certainly not as the Son of God, equal to the Father.
Jesus sighs with exasperation when the Pharisees came to argue with him and to ask him to perform “a sign from heaven” in order to test him. He gets in the boat and moves on.
Moves on. In these strange times we are living, we all want to move on. Move on from the pandemic. Move on from politics. Move on and seek light rather than dark.
But there are times when we can’t seem to do that. Something or someone gets in the way and pulls us back. We need something stronger, something bolder, something that gets our attention.
Is there anything stronger than the presence of Jesus in our life. Is there anything more powerful than His love which forever surrounds us?
St. Theresa of Avila kept a bookmark in her book of prayer . . . “Let nothing disturb you; All things pass. God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Nothing is wanting to him who possesses God. God alone suffices.
Simple words with a profound impact. You see, we create the negativity in our lives. Oh, not the events themselves. But rather our reception of the events. We can allow them to chew us apart. Or we can turn them over to God. As we turn them over to God, we must train ourselves to believe that He will both comfort us as we turn them over and that the events are truly in His hands, not ours.
That’s not easy, believe me. I struggle each day to turn them over with conviction. To let them pass from me to Him. To accept that God will deal with them as God sees fit.
But I have to . . . we have to. Because God gave each of us the ultimate sign. He died to redeem humanity. He gave us that sacrifice to remind us that our lives are valuable to Him. He wants us to love who each of us is, to love our family and yes, to love (sometimes to forebear) our circumstances.
God is with us each moment of the day. God surrounds us with His love. That love is so great that it can help us carry any burden. There is no burden so great that it eclipses the weight of His body on the cross. That is how much He loves you.
Let’s start each day by looking in the mirror and asking “Am I a sign of God?” Know when you do that He is answering: “Of course you are.”
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, show me your goodness and favor that I may praise you all my days. And give me unshakeable hope in your saving word that nothing may deter me from trusting in you completely.”
In your life, you have had many trials and perhaps cried over these trials. The obstacles are hard because often times they hurt, and we wonder whether we can go forward. But God never leaves us alone. He is always on our side strengthening us. Sometimes, the best reaction is to take a deep breath, sigh, and let the strongest ally in the universe take over.