Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. (Matthew 12: 38-42)
When the religious leaders pressed Jesus to give proof for his claims to be the Messiah sent from God, he says in so many words that he is God’s sign and that they need no further evidence from heaven than his own person.
But Jesus nevertheless says that the one sign that would be given to the evil and perverse generation that constantly seeks another sign is the Sign of Jonah. On the one hand this certainly points to his death, burial and his resurrection the greatest of all his miracles.
But the fundamental sign of Jonah is a sign of conversion. Jonah was himself a convert — he had run away from the mission the Lord had given him, much as many of the Scribes and Pharisees were running away from the mission the Lord had given all the Jews in preparing for and receiving the long-awaited Messiah. But Jonas prevailed and turned to God.
Conversion of heart and mind. That means we need to look within to see the “signs” of God within us and God’s will be guiding our path to him,
How do we do that? How do we know if we truly are converting to God’s way in our lives?
First, to do justice, to treat everyone fairly, to give God and others their due. The fact is that is that we treat others unjustly in a myriad of ways, Most times it is very subtle. We snub those that don’t hold to our world view. We engage in snide remarks and sarcasm and wind-up belittling others. We steal a person’s dignity by tearing down rather than building up.
Second, to love mercy. The real word translated as “goodness” is “mercy.” God wants us to love him in his merciful love, to recognize we need it, to come to get it, and then to share it with others as we have received it freely from the Lord. He wants us not merely to receive and reciprocate mercy but to love receiving it and love sharing it.
Third, “to walk humbly with your God.” God never tells us to stay where we are. He calls us to get up and follow him. He wants us not merely to know his ways but to walk in his ways. But once we’re moving, we’re called to walk humbly, letting God lead, knowing we need direction, receiving from him all the help that he knows we need. The Vulgate word that we translate as “humbly” is “sollicitum,” which basically means that we walk solicitously, seeking from God what we need rather than walk with an air of self-sufficiency. This, too, is a perennial point of conversion for us, because many of us prefer to stay put and if we get up to go our own way. Or we pride ourselves on how self-sufficient we are without recognizing that God is the source of our sufficiency.
If we truly desire to be with him, words are not enough! If our lives and actions are just like everyone else’s, no one is going to give much importance to the words we say. Then the proclamation of the good news will go unheard. Just because Jesus has ascended, do not imagine that his work is finished. He is calling upon us to act. He is counting on us to proclaim the gospel. When we do that, our very lives become signs of God’s Kingdom.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may grow in wisdom and knowledge of your love and truth. Free me from stubborn pride and willfulness that I may wholly desire to do what is pleasing to you.”
The single of heart and mind desire one thing alone – God who is the source of all wisdom, goodness, truth, and knowledge. Do you wish to be wise and loving as God is wise and loving? Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with the wisdom which comes from above and to free your heart from all that would hinder God’s loving action in your life.