The Gospel according to Mark (Mk 8:11-13)
The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” Then he left them, got into the boat again, and went off to the other shore.
Reflection: We all live in a culture where there are signs everywhere. Signs on the street, signs at work and school, even signs in the middle of nowhere. Spiritually speaking, we look for signs from God just like the Pharisees. We look for confirmation from Our God and ask Him to give us a sign. We look for something that will either confirm our faith and/or to strengthen it.
There are also signs that we give each other which is friendship, kinship, and most of all love. Especially today, which we have labeled this day, Valentine’s Day and we are supposed to take extra efforts in showing our love to our spouse and family. But shouldn’t everyday be Valentine’s Day? Shouldn’t we make that effort every day?
This reminds me of a song, that every time it comes on the radio in the car, Connie and I just start belting out the lyrics. We are by no means singers but it’s just a fun song that we both enjoy. The song is called “Signs” originally created by “Five Man Electrical Band” and was released in 1970 (see link to video). The song was written 52 years ago by the band when they went on a road-trip on Route 66 in California, and noticed the beautiful scenery was obscured by many billboards. The song’s narrator describes four instances of encountering signs that anger or concern him, as follows:
- A notice that “long-haired freaky people need not apply” for a job opening.
- A “no trespassing” warning about being shot on sight, outside a house. He climbs onto the perimeter fence and berates the owners for keeping people out, telling them that shooting and killing any person is sinful, and fencing in the land’s natural beauty.
- Being told to leave a restaurant because he does not meet its dress code or have a membership card, both of which are displayed on a sign.
- A sign inviting people to worship at a church. When an offering is taken up at the end of the service, he makes a sign telling God that he is doing well, as he has no money to contribute.
Is it possible that the Pharisee’s in today’s Gospel wanted to “Believe” therefore they wanted to see a sign too? On the other hand, it’s interesting that we rarely think of Jesus’ love for the Pharisees. Often, we only think of Him being harsh to them and condemning them. But every strong word He directed toward them was aimed at converting them out of love. It was an attempt, on His part, to shake them out of their indifference and rejection of grace. It was an act of love. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do? Be kind and loving to everyone we meet?
Action of the Day: Think about the “Pharisees” in your life, past and present. The Pharisees in your life are those who reject the gift of love you try to offer. They throw up every sort of defense there is to avoid letting your love in.
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!