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."
Prayer: Lord Jesus, in this Lenten season, I want to
draw closer to you. I believe that you truly
became one of us to save us as an act
of love beyond all human understanding. I know I
can count on you to carry me through each
day. I know that in all circumstances you are with
me. I want to love you more than myself
and say “yes” to your will in every moment.
I trust totally in your grace. Thank you, Lord! This
Lent, I want to learn to love you more,
as you deserve. I want to be the person you
want me to be.
Petition: Lord Jesus, help
me to re-discover all the gifts you have given me
and help me to use them to bear fruit.
Re-Discovering the Familiar: We all know the saying, “familiarity
breeds contempt.” In today’s Gospel, Jesus’ contemporaries were in
that situation regarding Jesus himself. He had already worked
miracles, and his preaching and holiness of life were
totally exceptional. Yet, some people were not satisfied, and Jesus
rebukes them for seeking more signs. It’s all too
easy for us to fall into this same attitude
with our faith. Instead of appreciating the riches conserved in
the tradition of the Church, many still look for
extraordinary signs. The Beatitudes, or the Gospel accounts of
Jesus raising people from the dead might seem boring, but
private revelations and possible apparitions capture our imagination. Lent
is a good time to go back to the
basics, and re-encounter Our Lord in the Scripture and
in the Mass, as if for the first time.
“Sign of Jonah” Is a Sign for Me: Despite
his harsh tone in the Gospel, Jesus actually does
promise to give them a sign – “the sign of
Jonah.” By this he means his death and resurrection,
as he explains in the Gospel according to Matthew
(12:40). There could, in fact, be no greater sign
than this and the celebration of the Pascal Mystery
is the true climax to which the period of
Lent is directed. The penitential character of these forty days
can seem to belie their true meaning as a
season of hope. Really, we’re purifying ourselves to participate
in the death and resurrection of Christ!
3. Sharing Our
Blessings: Jesus says to his listeners that they will
be judged because they are not appreciating the gift they
have before their eyes. It’s an invitation for us
not only to appreciate all that we have received
in the Church, but also to share it with others.
The truths of our faith, which we commemorate and
re-live in Lent and Easter, are not intended for
us alone but for all humanity. Whether or not that
message gets out depends on each one of us.
What are we doing to share the true meaning of
Lent and Easter with those around us?
with Christ: Lord Jesus, help me to appreciate the
great gifts you’ve given me in the Church –
your presence in the Eucharist and in sacred Scripture, the
sacraments, the testimony of the holy lives of so
many saints – and in my own life through the
work of your grace in my soul. I don’t
need any more signs! Help me to share these
gifts with the people I encounter by living what I
profess – and by having the courage to speak
about my faith.
Resolution: Today I will
focus on what I am doing when I pray, read
the Scripture, or participate in the liturgy. I will
raise my level of awareness as if I were doing
it for the first