October 12, 2020 (readings)
- Monday of the Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
- Lucy Honner
While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, again I come before you, coming into your presence with a humble heart in need of hearing your voice speak to me words of hope and encouragement. I know you never stop thinking of me and desiring for me to stay close to you. As I pray and reflect on your words today, I want to be open to the grace of a conversion of heart to live in the truth of who I am and how I can come closer to you. Enlighten and strengthen me, Lord, to have the courage to follow what you ask of me.
1. What Are We Looking For?: Why is it that we need tangible signs and ratifications for what we believe? Why are we so stubborn and slow of heart to overlook what has been revealed to us in the person of Jesus? Jonah preached God’s salvation to the Gentiles of Nineveh, and the wisdom of Solomon attracted the Gentile Queen of Sheba. Such conversions of non-Jews were powerful signs to the Jews of that time. Jesus makes it clear that in him is something even more superior. Yet many rejected and refused to accept him as the Messiah. Jesus himself came to establish the kingdom of God, and so fulfill the promise of blessedness to the descendants of Abraham. What more do we seek? What other signs, proof, or confirmation are we looking for? We need to contemplate every day the reality of his claim, to see in him (not just in passing marvels or supernatural phenomena) how this truth gives perspective and meaning to our lives as his faithful friends. Am I content and open to accepting Jesus as my Lord and savior, or do I hesitate and wait for “signs” as proof?
2. Repentance: Through the preaching of Jonah, many hearts were converted. In contrast, the scribes and Pharisees remained obstinate, refusing to repent. They were discontent with the miracles and wonders of Jesus and demanded more signs. They wanted Jesus to submit himself to their criteria. They wanted him to fit into the framework of their idea of the Messiah. There was no openness for possible conversion in them. But Jesus did not submit himself to their request. The only sign he gave them was his resurrection. This is the sign given to all of us. Jesus, who was condemned to death and death on the cross, who rose from the dead through the power of God, will continue to resurrect in many ways the lives of those who believe in him. The sign which converts is not the miracles but the witness of life! Let us ask for the grace to be open to seeing and being converted by the many ways his grace brings life, hope, and joy to our lives.
3. Heart of the Matter: We can easily become critical and doubt the power of Christ in our lives when we are inundated with the chaos and evil unleashed in the world around us. Jesus is greater than Jonah, greater than Solomon. For us Christians, he is the principal key for interpreting the events of our daily life. Do I believe that there is no space, circumstance, or time that Jesus is not lord and cannot bring some good, no matter the challenge? Jesus criticizes the scribes and the Pharisees who managed to deny the evidence, rendering themselves incapable to recognize the call of God in the events. As a Christian in today’s world, do I deserve the same criticism from Jesus? Today, the calls of reality are an invite to a change and conversion of heart. Whatever the political unrest, injustice, violence, cause, etc. what is the call of God in my reality?
Conversing with Christ: Lord, you know how easily I get swept up in the pace of life, how I seek clarity, affirmation, consolations, and assurances through the seductions of worldly comforts, wealth, and popularity. I have so many concerns in temporal realities that I forget to open my eyes to the marvels of your grace that actively shape my life. Open the eyes of my heart to recognize that following only you and your will gives lasting fruitfulness. Help me desire to treasure every word you have revealed to me of yourself in Scripture to discern and follow your will.
Resolution: Lord, today, by your grace, I will seek you for a moment in adoration to contemplate who you are as my creator and the redeemer of all things, the all-powerful and all-loving God. With gratitude and awe, I will place before you every area of my life, trusting in the power of the Resurrection to order all things for your glory and my eternal place with you in heaven.
For Further Reflection: Reflect and pray with the words from 2 Corinthians 3:8-18.
Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, was so glorious that the Israelites could not look intently at the face of Moses because of its glory that was going to fade, how much more will the ministry of the Spirit be glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation was glorious, the ministry of righteousness will abound much more in glory. Indeed, what was endowed with glory has come to have no glory in this respect because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was going to fade was glorious, how much more will what endures be glorious. Therefore, since we have such hope, we act very boldly and not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites could not look intently at the cessation of what was fading. Rather, their thoughts were rendered dull, for to this present day the same veil remains unlifted when they read the old covenant, because through Christ it is taken away. To this day, in fact, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts, but whenever a person turns to the Lord the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord who is the Spirit.
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