As the crowd increased, Jesus began to speak in this way, «People of the present time are evil people. They ask for a sign, but no sign will be given to them except the sign of Jonah. As Jonah became a sign for the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be a sign for this generation. The Queen of the South will rise up on Judgment Day with the people of these times and accuse them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and here there is greater than Solomon. The people of Nineveh will rise up on Judgment Day with the people of these times and accuse them, for Jonah's preaching made them turn from their sins, and here there is greater than Jonah».
We all need visible signs to believe. It is from this visible and palpable realities that we infer the invisible truth. Anyone who desires sincerely and engage positively to know God and His will, our salvation history affirms the divine generosity. Where there is no sincere engagement and when people ask question with intellectual and scientific orientation with the pretext of searching Faith, without having a sense of sacred and truthfulness in their research, God doesn’t hesitate to slash the mask, by naming them as wicked generation.
Jesus insists the importance of having the eye of faith and look everything with the divine vision without any prejudgement and colour. When we learn to see the world with an eye of the child which discovers for the first time the snow, the rain, the wind, the fire, etc., we will certainly end up with a simple wonder of marvellous amusement and mystery. This feeling in its purity will help us to see the divine work in us and in and around us.
Jonas represent for us the hope that God continues to shower on us. He continues to send messengers and prophets to guide us, to orient us and to admonish us. Even a non-living being, like a stone on the way, can be a true sign of divine revelation. How can you fail to admire the nature in front of you and thank the Creator for this wonderful personal gift to you and to the whole world, to live the life in a meaningful way? By listening the divine signs, shall we imitate the people of Nineveh?
«Here there is greater than Solomon; here there is greater than Jonah»
Fr. Antoni CAROL i Hostench
(Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)
Today's Gospel invites us to focus our hopes in the very Jesus. John Paul II has, in this regard, written that «our salvation would not come from a formula, but from a Person and the certitude this Person instills into us: ‘I am here, in your midst!’».
God —who is Father too— has not gone back on us: «Christianism is a state of grace, it is the surprise of a God that, not satisfied by the creation of the world and of man, has decided to side by his creature» (John Paul II).
We find ourselves beginning Lent: let us not ignore the opportunity the Church is offering us: «Now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation» (2Cor 6:2). After looking at Our Lord Jesus Christ's suffering face during his Passion, shall we still dare asking for additional evidence of His Love? «For He had made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him» (2Cor 5:21). Even more: «He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall He not, along with him, also freely give us all things? (Rm 8:32). Do we still pretend more signs?
In Christ's bloodstained face «there is greater than Solomon (...); here, there is greater than Jonah» (Lk 11:31-32). This suffering face of the last hour, of the hour of the Cross is «a mystery within the mystery, in front of which human beings should prostate in worship». Indeed, «to return the face of the Father to men, Jesus had, not only to take on man's face, but to suffer the “face” of sin, too» (John Paul II). Do we want more signs?
«Behold, the man!» (Jn 19:5): herein lies the great sign. Let us watch it from the silence of the “desert” prayer: «What every Christian has to do at all times [to pray], he ought to do it now more carefully and more devotedly: we shall then abide by the apostolic institution of the forty days» (Saint Leo the Great, pope).