July 20, 2020

Gospel MT 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

Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus,
“Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.”

My usual reaction to this gospel passage is to feel frustration with the scribes and Pharisees for their incessant demand to “see a sign” from Jesus.
But not today. I too am ready for a sign from God with all that is going on in our country: Covid 19, racial division and total political paralysis.

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.”

I do not believe that we are any more of an “evil and unfaithful generation” than those who have gone before us. But, it does occur to me that “a sign” may already have been given and we missed it.

Perhaps the sign of the troubles that we are now experiencing was our complacency: taking our blessings for granted and turning a blind eye to our failings.

“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.”

I don’t know if the “men of Nineveh” will rise against us. But sadly, it’s very possible that our children and grandchildren, who will bear the burden of our failings, may say, “Grandpa, Grandma, how could you have let this happen to us?”

“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.”

What was the wisdom of Solomon?

Two women claimed to be the mother of the same child. Solomon ordered the child cut in half and divided between the women. Out of love for her child the real mother renounced her claim. Solomon recognized her as the child’s true mother and gave the child to her.

Will love and concern for our country overcome the differences that divide us?

“Ask yourself, do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” Gary Anderson