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The demand for a sign

Gospel Reading: Lk 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 Jonah here.”

Jesus here issues a warning about the endless pursuit of signs. By introducing the remark with an address to an “evil generation,” Jesus makes it clear that such a continual quest, especially in light of what has already been done, is sinful. It is an excuse to refuse to face what Jesus is doing. Our Lord insists that no sign will come besides what Jonah and Solomon have provided. The comparison between the Son of Man and Jonah is not about Jonah’s three days in the belly of the fish. Rather, v 32 makes it clear that Jonah’s preaching is the issue here. The sign is therefore the call to repent. Reinforcing this teaching is the picture of the queen of the south, who visited Solomon to hear about his wisdom (cf 1 Kgs 10:1-13; 2 Chr 9:1-12). She came from southern Arabia to hear his teaching. Now someone greater than both Solomon and Jonah stands before the present generation, and his teaching offers what they longed to see. In other words, Jesus’ miracles and signs point to a more important issue—his teaching. In fact, this queen and the men of Nineveh will stand at the judgment to testify against this generation for what they are failing to see in Jesus.

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Can we really say that we are different from the generation of Jesus’ time?

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SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.