March 4, 2020 – 1st Week of Lent

“Believing in the signs offered by the Lord to grow in faith, devotion and commitment!”

(Based on Jon 3:1-10 and Lk 11:39-42)

Thriller Movies have a great audience….
Reality Shows have a wide range of popularity…
Programmes with sensational appeal have a massive demand…

Our age loves to be tingled with breathtaking visuals and magnificent signs.

Check out the number of videos and movies and songs we have on our gadgets…

Look at the wide range of photos that we shoot and the selfies we click (which perhaps never we may see again!)

The demand of our external senses is very high in our generation…

A fallout of this excess is also reflected in our Spirituality and our Religious Outlook….
“We seek for greater external signs and wondrous miracles, even to believe in God!”

And the Lord thunders in today’s Gospel Reading, “This is a wicked generation… it is asking for a sign…”

Signs are not bad.

Symbols are not without meaning.

External expressions are not unwarranted.

They certainly do have their proper place and a meaningful nature.

The Bible is not alien to signs and wonders…

Moses’ rod became a serpent;
The Red Sea parted so that God’s people could cross.
Water flowed from a rock when Moses struck it.
Manna fell from the sky to feed God’s people.
Baalam’s ass spoke.

Aaron ‘s rod blossomed.
The sun stood still at Joshua’s command.
Gideon’s fleece became wet and dry according to his request to the Lord.
Elijah pronounced a drought upon the land… And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain …

The examples are plenty plenty more……..

… when outward signs fail to generate any positive emotions..they divorce from their intention…
…when signs stop being an aid to increase in faith…they lose their meaning
…when symbols cease to be a passage for inner understanding….they fail in their purpose.

And this is the reason that Jesus condemns the Pharisaic mentality of Seeking for a Sign…

They sought a sign ….in order to test…but not to believe…
They asked a sign….in order to satisfy curiosity…but not to trust
They demanded a sign…in order to scheme evil talks… but not to have faith.

Signs become mere external fancies.

Miracles become mere magic shows

The Gospels are not alien to such false demands…

At the Birth of Jesus, King Herod sought to see Baby Jesus…
… not to worship…but to kill Him!

At the Temptation, Satan tempted to change stones to bread…
… not to believe…but to lure Him!

At the Trial, King Herod Antipas hoped Him to perform a sign…
… not to save Him..but to mock Him!

Jesus condemns all such unnecessary demands for a sign and external phenomenon.
“…but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah the Prophet!”

The Prophets of Old, performed many miracles.
… Jesus also did.

The Prophets of Old, even performed the great miracles of raising the Dead.
… Jesus also did.

However, the Prophets of Old, were never able to raise themselves from the dead.
… But Jesus rose!

Jonah was three days and nights in the belly of the fish, so was Jesus in the belly of the earth!

But Jesus rose….and that has become indeed, the Greatest Sign of all times!

The Pharisees demanded a sign….Jesus answered with a sign…the greatest of them all..His Resurrection!

And yet……yet, DID THEY BELIEVE?

The answers can be speculated.

But the question is…
Am I believing?

Am  I believing and living, the Power of the Resurrection in my life?
Have I reduced the reality of Jesus being Alive, to a mere expression of the lips?
Do I also display this Sign in my life, my activities, my words etc –  that Jesus is Risen?!

The people of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah…
… And they experienced the Mercy of the Lord (Jon 3:1-10)

We need to also come in repentance and contrition to the Lord and trust in His Mercy!”

Let us not be carried away by mere External Glitz and Glamour…

Let us open our eyes to see the many wonders and miracles the Lord has worked in our lives!
Let us become aware to see that He is Risen, and Alive and Working
…in amazing ways…in our Life!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “You should be brave and courageous always and everywhere… For Heaven helps those who put their trust in God…

… and implore His Help in humility and love!”

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