A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 11:29-32
29As the crowds increased, Jesus said, "This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. 30For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom; and now something greater than Solomon is here. 32The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now something greater than Jonah is here.
REFLECTION: "This is a wicked generation"
Prior to this gospel reading, Jesus cast out a demon from a mute man. Many in the crowd still did not understand who Jesus was and they said, " He casts out demons by Beelzelbul, the prince of demons". Others still demanded more signs from heaven.
What an insult to Jesus!!! People who witnessed Jesus' feeding of the 5000, walking on water, healing the sick, the mute, the deaf still thought his source of power came from Satan. This was the ultimate insult of equating evil and sin with Jesus.
Jesus did not remain silent, he reasoned and explained and yet he could not convince them that he was the Son of God. What the people failed to realize was that Jesus was the SIGN.
How can it be that Jesus, the healer of torn lives, the miracle maker, could not convince those who could physically see and touch him? How could God not be able to change hearts? Oh-- free will and stubborness of heart !!
What sort of sign would have been sufficient? Would they believe if he performed an "umpteenth" miracle? Would that have been the "aha moment"? What the people wanted was not proof that Jesus was God, but proof he was not Satan.
Jonah was swallowed by a great fish--and after 3 days he was deposited in Ninevah. It was there that the people heard of God's great mercy and repented. Jesus would, too, spend 3 days in the tomb and he would give people the last opportunity, the last sign of love and mercy through the Resurrection.
Why could Jesus not convince the religious leaders of who he was? To receive God's love and mercy you must want it, you must seek God and beg God for the gift of true repentance, humility and the grace to sin no more. We have to work out our own salvation.
What an awesome God. He gave the people of Israel, one last chance at redemption when he became the ultimate sign on Easter Sunday overcoming death, overcoming Satan. What will we do with this final sign from God? Where do we want to spend eternity?
PRAYER: Dearest Lord, what stubborn fools we are, demanding and demanding of you instead of pleading and pleading for your love and mercy. Please send down the Holy Spirit as we pray for the renewal of our minds and heart and help us find you through faith and not signs. Amen
We pray for priests.