October 12, 2020 (Monday of Week 28 Year II)
Sign of Jonah
Dear friends in Christ, people often say that experience is the best teacher. But the best of teachers are those who are able to follow through, by living out what they teach others. Leaders who do it first, often win the support of their followers because they have someone who is not just a slave master, but one of them. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and in all things, he calls his disciples to follow his example. He sees himself as the sign, that will be given to this evil generation that is looking for a sign.
In the first reading of today (Galatians 4:22-24.26-27.31-5:1) Paul uses an allegory concerning Hagar and Sarah. He considers Ishmael, the son of the slave Hagar as the Old Testament. Hagar is Sinai and Jerusalem the stronghold of Judaism born out of the law. Sarah is considered the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the free, the city of grace. For Paul, the Judaizers want to be slaves of the law, while Christians looking to the heavenly Jerusalem, stand for truth and grace, which comes through Christ and truly sets believers free. He says, “So brethren, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman. For freedom, Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.”
In today’s gospel (Luke 11:29-32) a bigger crowd had gathered around Jesus; but this time, Jesus perceived it was not to listen to his teachings, but to see him work some signs and he did not fall for it. He is not a showman or a commercial magician who needs a great crowd around him for his performance. He therefore addressed their quest for signs. “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah became a sign to the men of Nineveh, so will the Son of man be to this generation.” The sign Jesus wants to give them will be the final act of his life—His passion, death and resurrection. He sees the Jonah event as a pointer to this. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the man had asked Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead, to warn his brothers. Abraham’s reply was that even if someone comes back from the dead, they are not likely to listen, if they will not listen to the prophets. But Jesus is willing to make that definitive sacrifice, for the redemption of the world. The difference however is, the Ninevites repented on seeing the sign of Jonah, unlike this generation. So they will be judges, “The men of Nineveh will arise at the judgement with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.” We have every opportunity to avoid that condemnation by being serious with our faith in Christ. He is the Lord of our lives and the way to our salvation.
Let us pray: Lord, help me to understand and appreciate the freedom I have in you. Give me the courage to follow you to the joys of heaven. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.