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James Tissot (Nantes, France, 1836–1902, Chenecey-Buillon, France). The Pharisees Question Jesus (Les pharisiens questionnent Jésus), 1886-1894.


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.


He sighed from the depth of his spirit

I loved reading this Gospel and not just because it was short. I loved this line in particular, “He sighed from the depth of his spirit”. I had to laugh when I read this. I think it is quite beautiful though because it pictures Jesus as so human. The Pharisees are at it again trying to “test” Him and I can just picture Him taking a moment to sigh and compose himself before answering to their antics.

After finishing the reading I began to contemplate the question Jesus posed, “why does this generation seek a sign?” I think we have all been in situations or times in our life when we are utterly confused or at a crossroads searching for any semblance of meaning or a sign. However, in these times of distress is this seeking coming from a place of wanting to grow our faith or more from a place the Pharisees were at, one in which to prove God wrong or so we can be given a reason to doubt Him?

This made me then question, who are we to test God. Sometimes our prayers can lean in that direction similar to the Pharisees. I think the Pharisees were going about it in the wrong way, asking for a sign out of spitefulness and evilness, trying to prove Jesus wrong or mark him as a fraud. However, they were so blind to the truth that I can’t help but wonder had Jesus even given them what they wanted, a miraculous sign right then and there, would they have even seen it? Or maybe worse that they could have talked themselves out of it, reasoned or justified it away, or twisted it to suit their nefarious purposes.

We may not be exactly like the Pharisees in this way, purposefully trying to find guilt in or blame Jesus; however, I can see many of us blind to the signs that are already given around us, or simply refusing to acknowledge a sign for what it is and reasoning it away. I think with Lent right around the corner this is a perfect time to start asking questions like, what is blinding us to the signs that are already given, or what is preventing us from seeing these signs? Lent is a time for prayer, fasting and meditation so I would ask you to contemplate, what do you need

to get rid of in order to see these signs?


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