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».
Jesus calls us as an evil generation, because we are looking for a sign from heaven, while we are not able to spot the signs on earth, the signs of the divine presence. Jesus is sad, because we do not want to accept the humanity of Jesus, which is visible and palpable, and we look for the divine elements, which is invisible and not palpable, without the grace of God. Yet God reveals himself in our humanity and we are invited to discover him in these visible and palpable elements. Jonah and the people of Nineveh was a good example, for Jonah was a messenger of the Father and the people were converted by hearing his word. So we have in Jesus more than Jonah. What sign are we still looking for today, more than Jesus and His death and resurrection, to be converted?
Action of the day: Try to identify the divine signs in you, not outside of you. In truth, believe that you yourself is a sign of God’s presence to others.
«People of the present time are evil people. They ask for a sign»
Fr. Raimondo M. SORGIA Mannai OP
(San Domenico di Fiesole, Florencia, Italy)
Today, Christ's sweet —but stern— voice admonishes those who believe they certainly deserve a “ticket” for Paradise, just because they may say: «Jesus, how wonderful you are!». Christ has paid the price of our salvation without excluding anyone, but, all the same, some minimum conditions must be kept. And, amongst them, not pretending to have Christ doing all the work while we do nothing at all. That would not only be sheer foolishness, but wicked arrogance. This is why, the Lord has no doubt using the word “evil”: «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» (Lk 11:29). He calls them “evil” because they want to see first his spectacular miracles in order for them to grant their eventual and condescending adhesion.
Not even in front of his own Nazareth countrymen did He agree, because —demanding as they were!— they expected Jesus to sign up his mission as Prophet and Messiah by means of wonderful prodigies. They would like to savor as comfortably seated watchers in a theater. But this is not possible: the Lord offers the salvation, but only to those who submit to him through an obedience born from the faith, that waits and says nothing. This total faith (that God himself has planted in our inside as a seed of grace) is what He wants from us.
A testimony against those believers keeping a caricature of their faith will be the queen of the South, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and it turned out that «here there is greater than Solomon» (Lk 11:31). There is a proverb that goes «there's none so deaf as those who will not hear». Christ, condemned to death, will rise in three days: He will offer salvation to whoever recognizes him, while all others —when He comes back as a Judge— can wait for nothing but their sentence because of their stubborn disbelief. Let us accept him with advanced faith and love. We shall recognize him and He will recognize us as belonging to him. Don Alberione, servant of God said: «God wastes no light: He lights the lamps as needed, but always on time».