Sign Seeking

  • February 15, 2021 (readings)
  • Monday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
  • Fr. Steven Reilly, LC
  • Mark 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.

    Opening Prayer: Lord, I come to you today with my empty hands. I need everything from you! I need your love, your guidance, your perseverance. Help me in these trying times to be a light for others!

    Encountering Christ:

    1. Arguing with Jesus: The Pharisees were on the warpath. They were dismissive, closed-minded, and wrathful. This was not a dialogue. Their discordant voices expressed the hardness of their hearts that smothered their souls. Certainly, we can find ourselves arguing with Jesus, but can we ever forget that he is the Lord? Our “arguing” should be imbued with reverence, a dialogue that is open to correction, and an eternal perspective.

    2. Seeking Signs: These Pharisees were more Missourian than Missourian—“Show me!” They demanded signs, and one wonders if they would have been placated if he had made the sun dance. Humility, not hostility, is the proper footing for approaching Jesus. We can absolutely ask him for a sign, but we must allow him to do it the way he desires, not tailored to our incredulity.

    3. Losing Jesus: This Gospel passage utters words that can strike a chill in our souls: “Then he left them…and went off to another shore.” Did Jesus reject the Pharisees? Had he reached his limit with them? These Pharisees had cultivated an ongoing groupthink of negative bias against Jesus that ossified into an impenetrable shell. When Jesus left, it was not so much a choice he made as it was a gesture respecting their freedom. But the sigh from “the depth of his spirit” showed his regret for what might have been. Let us beware of our own hardening of heart, lest we cause Jesus great sorrow.

    Conversing with Christ: Lord, I need signs! I need to know that you are with me and that your loving providence is guiding my life. And I know that you provide signs! Please give me the grace to recognize your signs. I don’t need spectacular ones—just simple ones that point me in the direction of heaven.

    Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will take a minute to reflect on what graces and signs you have sent me today.

    For Further Reflection: Abandonment to Divine Providence, by Reverend Jean-Pierre de Caussade, SJ.


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