A TERRIBLE JUDGEMENT AWAITS THOSE WHO GO ABOUT SEEKING MIRACLES, SIGNS AND WONDERS WITHOUT REALIZING THE EUCHARIST (THE SIGN OF JONAH)
First Reading: Micah 6:1-4,6-8
Responsorial Psalm: 49(50):5-6,8-9,16-17,21,23
Gospel Reading: Matthew 12:38-42
When asked by the Scribes and Pharisees for a sign, Jesus reacted: ‘It is an evil and unfaithful generation that asks for a sign!’ Hearing these words of Jesus towards a people that ask for a sign, one could imagine how Jesus would react against many ‘Christians’ today who go about seeking for miracles, signs and wonders, today.
In today’s gospel reading, Christ says: “The only sign it will be given is the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was in the belly of the sea-monster for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.” Here, Christ explains that the ‘sign of Jonah’ is a prototype of his death and resurrection. Therefore, his death and resurrection should be enough for us.
Unfortunately, today, this same attitude of the scribes and Pharisees keeps reoccurring. Many are Christians today as a result of signs, wonders, and miracles performed by the ‘man of God’ and not of their conviction in the death and resurrection of Christ; such that once their expectations (of miracles) aren’t met, they switch to another Church where another ‘man of God’ is said to be performing greater miracles. The situation gets worse when Catholics behave this way. Inasmuch as Christ’s Passion is commemorated at every Eucharistic Sacrifice (Holy Mass), unfortunately, some Catholics tend to ignore the Holy Eucharist and focus on places where miracles, signs and wonders are performed. What a shame! To these, Christ continues to say: ‘It is an evil and unfaithful generation that asks for a sign!’
Dearest friends in Christ, our focus should be on Jesus and the salvation He has obtained for us through His saving death and resurrection. Christ demands us to walk in accordance with the will of God – love of God and the love of our neighbour, every other thing is secondary. Just as the first reading puts it, “what the Lord asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God,” otherwise be prepared to face a terrible judgement, just as Christ tells the Scribes and the Pharisees in the Gospel: “On Judgement day the men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation and condemn it, because when Jonah preached they repented; and there is something greater than Jonah here. On Judgement day the Queen of the South will rise up with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon…” Apparently, the men of Nineveh and the queen of the south were not upstanding characters. Nonetheless, the men of Nineveh were given the sign of “the preaching of Jonah”, and they responded to the sign of the prophet by repenting. The queen of the south was given the sign of the “wisdom of Solomon”, and she responded by coming from “the ends of the earth to hear” him. Jesus’ bottom line puts the scribes and Pharisees in their place. As bad as the men of Nineveh and the queen of the south were, they repented when given signs by Jonah and Solomon. Since the scribes and Pharisees will be given a far greater sign, by one who is far greater than Jonah and Solomon (not only a prophet and king, but the divine priest as well), they will be judged by a far higher standard. Should they not repent (as up to this point in the Gospel account they had not), the conclusion is that their culpability would be far greater. Thus, to whom much is given, much more would be expected.
May we who have the seven Sacraments, most especially the Eucharist, not be criticized on the judgement day (just because we never valued the Eucharist – the greatest of all signs) by those who never had the opportunity of having the Eucharist in their midst or receiving it.
© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Fatima, Vila Sabrina, São Paulo, Brazil
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