Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” He said to them in reply, “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here. At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.” (Matthew 12:38-42)
It’s all about signs in today’s Gospel.
The Ninevites recognized God’s warning when Jonah spoke to them, and they repented. And the Queen of Sheba recognized God’s wisdom in Solomon. Jonah was God’s sign and his message was the message of God for the people of Nineveh.
In each case, the “signs” were received. Within that lies a message for us.
When I was a young, pre-teen boy, I remember picking daisies and each time I picked a petal, I would repeat the formula “she loves me, she loves me not.” Whichever petal was the last would tell me that my pre-teen crush loved me or loved me not.
As we grow older, we still play the daisy game – in a far more sophisticated way of course. Often, we pray for a sign or ask that we receive a sign as to a decision that we need to make. Nothing wrong with that. Asking for God’s guidance is something that every Christian does naturally and often.
But our Gospel today reminds us that too often we want a sign other than the signs Jesus Christ gave us. We want some other proof from God of His will. We want Him to speak loudly and clearly. But that doesn’t always happen. More often what we experience is what appears to be silence from God. We may wonder, “Lord, where are You? Why don’t You speak to me?”
Often, it is we who need to remain silent. We need to use the quiet to understand what is going on around us. God speaks to us all the time. We simply don’t take the lime to listen.
As followers of Christ, it is important to internalize that Jesus does speak to us . He does so by gently reminding us of His life, death and Resurrection. He reminds us that we must believe in all that He has spoken, and even if we feel like we are in the belly of a whale or dead in a tomb, hope is not lost. He wants us to seek Him through the gift of faith. God is present in all things and He is active and present to us even when He seems to be silent.
Where that should lead us is to recognize that rather than make demands on Christ, we need to make demands on ourselves. We need to make demands that we grow in humility, selflessness and authentic love in imitation of the Lord. The more that we do, then the more we grow closer to Christ. The closer we grow to Him, the more our lives will be in unison with His teachings. The more our lives are in unison with His teachings the more we see where He is leading us and where he wants us to be.
I invite you to join with me by simply asking yourself: Who is Jesus to me? How deep is my belief and trust in Jesus? Do I wish to strengthen my relationship with Jesus?
How do I let Jesus know that I desire a deeper and more personal relationship with him? Jesus is waiting for us! Will we be open and notice His presence?
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, help me to believe in You even though I do not see miracles or signs from Heaven. Help me to believe in You despite any doubts or weaknesses I have in life. Give me a firm faith to answer Your call in my life. Jesus, I trust in You.”
On this day the Word is an invitation for each one of us to humbly understand that only a converted heart turned towards God, can receive, interpret, and see this sign which IS Jesus Christ. Humility is the reality that not only brings us closer to God, but also to humanity. Through humility we acknowledge our limitations and virtues, but mostly we see our neighbors as brothers and God as our Father. All of which brings us to the essence of the Christian life which is to be recognized by the love that is seen in our life, love that springs from Jesus.