Monday, June 13, 2005


LUKE 11:29-32

It's common enough among Christians to search for signs, assurances for us that our decisions have God's approval. For some of us, one method used to attain this end is to open the Bible at a random page and to read the first verses our eyes fall on. Hopefully the verses we read will give us some insight into whether or not God approves of a decision we have come to. Another method is to look at the experiences we have in daily life to determine whether in them God is saying anything to us about a particular problem we're trying to solve or a change we're thinking of instituting in our way of life.

The crowd about Jesus in today's gospel apparently has been pushing him to give them a sign. They wanted God, at Jesus' behest, to intervene somehow, to assure them that God approves of Jesus' words and works.

We read the gospels with the eyes of faith. To us the crowd's request seems utterly foolish. I mean, Jesus' extraordinary goodness and the startling miracles he worked are signs enough. There's no need to "cut the Bible," that is to open the Bible at random and read the first verses our eyes fall on, to assure us that God approves of him. Jesus and his words and works are self-authenticating.

Sometimes we think that it would be a great thing if Jesus were to appear among us today. You know, feeling him physically present to us, hearing with our own ears his voice as he preaches, and witnessing his works . . . it would so easy to embrace the transformation he offers. Much easier than it is today. Today we have only the gospel account of his life. We don't have the living person.

We're asking for a sign, aren't we? Jesus says to us, no sign will be given except the sign of Jonah. Jonah preached to the Ninevites, and they were converted. Jesus preaches to us today through the gospel and through the Church. We have a greater than Jonah among us. We today have Jesus Christ who with his words and works God approved when he raised him from the dead. We have a greater than Jonah among us today.

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