The Only Sign We Need

Luke 11: 29-32
Jon 3: 1-10/ Ps 51:3-4,12-13,18-19

…no sign will be given to them except the sign of Jonah.
(Luke 11: 29)

No other sign can immortalize
Divine love as the cross on the wall.
Reminds us of the great sacrifice
That Jesus endured to save us all.

As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and there is something greater than Solomon here. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here.” (Lk.11: 29-32)

Reflection

Jesus was saying the Queen of Sheba travelled a great distance just to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, but the Jews of Jesus’ generation did not even care to listen to Him, Whose wisdom was far greater than Solomon’s. The prophet Jonah traversed the great city of Nineveh, preaching repentance, and after only a day’s journey, the king of Nineveh and all his subjects repented of their sins without doubting Jonah (Jon.3:4-8); but here was the Son of God Himself Who had gone to great lengths preaching to the Jews, and healing a great number of their sick and exorcising eevil spirits from the possessed, and still they were unrepentant and hard to teach, asking for further signs as proof of Jesus’ divinity.

Jesus knew the deviousness in the hearts of His detractors that had made them rotten to the core. They weren’t asking for a sign because they needed proof in order to believe; it was merely their ploy to put him to the test, and find something which they could use to condemn Him. No sign from heaven could ever turn their hearts to repentance.

Genuine faith has no need for physical signs. Those who are “renewed”, or who turn from their worldly ways because of some ‘miraculous sign’ are usually the ones not steadfast in their faith. Their kind of faith needs a regular dose of the supernatural or the fanciful (like the “dancing sun” or shower of rose petals from nowhere) to keep it burning. But a strong faith is not dependent on supernatural signs. It is sustained by acts of piety, perseverance and prayer, especially in times of crisis or the so-called “dark night of the soul”. In fact it is when God doesn’t seem to answer our prayers that our faith in Him is being fortified, even without our knowledge. For almost two years we prayed fervently for our nephew, who had suffered an aneurism attack in a foreign land. A doctor with three very young children, it seemed such a waste that at the age of thirty-four, all his efforts and all our prayers would come to nothing. When he finally succumbed to the inevitable, a deep pall of gloom descended upon the two clans of more than 30 families. And yet no one ever questioned why God had allowed it to happen. Instead, we all thanked God that despite his brief sojourn in this life, our nephew enriched so many lives that he had touched with his kindness.

Lord, my sacrifice is a broken spirit; a contrite heart You will not despise. (Ps.51:19) Your great pains and death on the cross serve as our inspiration in times of trials. Amen.

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