The Gospel according to Matthew (12:38-42)
Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” He said to them in reply, “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here. At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.”
Reflection: The question of how we see, and what the lenses are that allow us to understand our lives and the world more deeply is a question that I’ve cared about for a really long time. How do we understand where God, the Holy Spirit is operating in our lives, in our institutions, and the world around us? What gives us the capacity to even understand any of that?
We live in a society that has signs of all sorts; all shapes; all sizes; all around us. We can’t do or go anywhere without signage. Take for example something simple like going to a restroom in a public space. If it didn’t have any signage, then how would you know which one is men or women? A couple of weeks ago, I was hiking and fishing in the Sierras and there was a minimum number of physical signs at the trailheads but there were many, many spiritual signs around me. There were many times I would just stop and sit and observe the signs that God was presenting to me. And when I did stop, there was an endless number of signs (see photo below).
Yesterday’s Gospel was about Mary and Martha tending to the needs of Jesus. Martha was so busy to please Jesus that she didn’t stop and slow down to absorb the love (signs) from Jesus. But isn’t that what we are taught in our society? Or in our culture? We are taught to be Martha and make our guest as comfortable as possible which usually includes food. Now I can’t argue the food part but that is our life in this world, we are so busy and preoccupied with so many things. Sometimes all at once. I believe the word that is used today is called “multi-tasking”. Think about the blessings that Mary had listening to Jesus. Think about my conversations with God when I stopped and sat down by the river.
Very often we are looking for a sign but because we don’t slow down, we miss them. We want Him to speak loudly, clearly and place right in our hands. But that doesn’t always happen. More often what we experience is what appears to be silence from God. We may wonder, “Lord, where are You? Why don’t You speak to me?” But Jesus will speak to us in the same way. He will gently remind us of His life, death, and Resurrection. He will remind us that we must believe in all that He has spoken, and even if we feel like we are in the belly of a whale or dead in a tomb, hope is not lost. God is present in all things, and He is active and present to us even when He seems to be silent or far away. Or sometimes you are so busy looking for signs but maybe you are a sign for someone else!
Action of the Day: Go out to a park, a pond, your garden wherever and just be Mary. Look for all the signs that God gives you. He is speaking to you all the time. You just need to discern His voice.