Father Daniel Ray, LC
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Luke 11: 29-32
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
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that
you are present here as I turn to you
in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire
to give me every grace I need to receive
today. Thank you for your love, thank you for
your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life
and my love in return.
help me to recognize the signs of your presence
in my life.
1. Three Days in the
Fish: When Jonah is swallowed by the whale he
dies, and when he is spit out onto the shore,
he comes to life again. This is the only
sign that Christ promises to his listeners who seek
a sign. Christ will be seen by them as truly
dead, swallowed by the tomb of the earth. Then,
after three days, he will come to life again in
the Resurrection. As Jonah preached conversion to the Ninevites
after coming back from the dead, so Christ would
bring conversion and peace to some of the very
ones who abandoned him or cried out for his crucifixion.
Even in rebuking the “evil generation”, Christ promises them
a sign that will bring hope to any of
them who—like the Ninevites—later repent. If later in life they
realize their evilness, Christ himself will be there to
guide them back to friendship with his Father.
2. Even the Queen Came: Christ is reminding
his unbelieving listeners that the Queen of Sheba traveled from
afar to hear Solomon’s wisdom. The distance from the
Kingdom of Sheba in southern Arabia to Jerusalem would
have taken weeks to traverse. It would have been an
exhausting and expensive journey, especially considering the entourage that
would have accompanied the Queen. She recognized the gift
of God in him and relished the pearls of
divine wisdom that he shared with her. We need to
reflect on how often we avail ourselves of all
that God offers us that is not a journey
of weeks away, but is just a few miles away:
Christ in the Eucharist. Closer still, the Bible on
the shelf is filled with Christ’s message of love.
All this is within easy reach and is much more
than anything Solomon could share with us.
3. Greater than Jonah: The whale was greater than
Jonah. It swallowed him whole. Yet that violent death and
subsequent resurrection was the key moment in Jonah’s life
and mission. It was necessary not only for Jonah’s
own salvation (he had been running from God), but
it also was necessary for the salvation of the whole
city of Nineveh. Christ makes this reference to Jonah
as a forewarning to his listeners: He is greater
than Jonah. He is greater than the death that would
swallow him. This should inspire our faith and confidence
in Christ. There is nothing greater than he. There
is no greater prophet; no greater event can consume him.
All things are under his dominion except one: our
free will. That he doesn’t force; that he doesn’t
conquer. He leaves it perfectly intact, so that we might
respond freely to his call to ongoing conversion, just
like the citizens of Nineveh.
with Christ: Lord Jesus, the sign of
love that you give is your willingness to die a
cruel and humiliating death. Yet that is not everything:
You give me your Word in the Gospel. You
give me your Body and Blood in the Eucharist. Help
me to appreciate these great gifts and to make
the most of every opportunity to receive them.
Resolution: At some point today I will offer
a prayer of thanksgiving, thanking Christ for the blessings
received over the past few days.