Wednesday, February 24
While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.”
Reflections on Today's Gospel
- We all know the saying, "familiarity breeds contempt." In today's Gospel, Jesus contemporaries were in that situation regarding Jesus himself. He had already worked miracles, and his preaching and holiness of life were totally exceptional. Yet, some people were not satisfied, and Jesus rebukes them for seeking more signs. It's all too easy for us to fall into this same attitude with our faith. Instead of appreciating the riches conserved in the tradition of the Church, many still look for extraordinary signs. The Beatitudes, or the Gospel accounts of Jesus raising people from the dead might seem boring, but private revelations and possible apparitions capture our imagination. Lent is a good time to go back to the basics, and re-encounter Our Lord in the Scripture and in the Mass, as if for the first time.
- Despite his harsh tone in the Gospel, Jesus actually does promise to give them a sign "the sign of Jonah." By this he means his death and resurrection, as he explains in the Gospel according to Matthew (12:40). There could, in fact, be no greater sign than this and the celebration of the Pascal Mystery is the true climax to which the period of Lent is directed. The penitential character of these forty days can seem to belie their true meaning as a season of hope. Really, we're purifying ourselves to participate in the death and resurrection of Christ!