Monday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
We human beings find comfort in clarity; we want the mysterious to be revealed, the unknown to be understood, the wild to be tamed, and the dim to be illuminated. Today the Pharisees, likewise, ask Jesus for a sign. In other words they are saying, in the wake of His claims, “Prove it.”
“We walk by faith and not by sight” St. Paul famously wrote (2 Cor. 5:7), reminding us that we are, indeed, sheep in need of a shepherd and if we are to be led, then we must trust the One leading us; in other words we must have faith in Him. This “evil and unfaithful generation” that asked Jesus to prove Himself is given no sign. Why? There was no sign, save for an absolutely incredible one, which would satisfy them, so closed were their hearts to God. Using the sign of Jonah to foreshadow the ultimate sign of the Resurrection was not only His way of saying that the brilliant dawn of His rising was the only light that would pierce their blindness, but also that it would be a sign calling for the repentance of them all. The whole city of Nineveh repented at Jonah’s preaching, yet the Pharisees are hearing the Word of God directly from His Son and are continuing in their ways.
“There is something greater than Jonah here.” Jesus is more than a prophet; there is more to Him than meets the eye. He is more than a mere man, more than a backcountry rabbi, more than a worker of wood; He is more than the Pharisees could ever guess. But they believe only what they see; they cannot bring themselves to trust what they cannot understand or control. The Pharisees have something greater than Solomon in their own backyard and they deem themselves the wise ones, turning a deaf ear to Incarnate Wisdom.
Brothers and sisters, let us not fall prey to the folly of the Pharisees who would not dare to trust in Jesus and what He taught. How can we love Him if we do not at least trust Him? For the heart that cannot trust, that cannot open itself to the words of another, cannot love. Like the Pharisees we, too, are blessed to have the Son of God in our very midst though, unlike them, we haven’t the benefit of seeing Him face-to-face. We do, however, have a gift they did not receive because they could not trust: the Holy Spirit by Whom we receive the gift of faith. “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed” Jesus tells us (John 20:29), for such people have placed great trust in Him, which bespeaks of an even deeper love.