"No sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah." —Luke 11:29
In today's Gospel, Jesus was likely speaking to Jews, believers in God (see Lk 11:37). Jesus' message for his believing hearers was that they would be given only the sign of Jonah (Lk 11:29), who was "buried" for three days and then "rose" to new life. Since Jesus' hearers couldn't have imagined Jesus' impending death and resurrection, the meaning of the sign would likely have been that the worst sinners are capable of unimaginable repentance. Jesus wanted the believing Jews to know that repentant pagans and sinners would be entering the Kingdom of God, even before they would (see Mt 21:31).
Therefore, because of such a great sign, we believers should:
- Reform our lives, as the kingdom of God is here (Mk 1:15). The Ninevites "believed God" and repented deeply (Jon 3:5). The believing Jews grew angry when they heard the pagans accepted God (Lk 4:27-28ff; Jon 4:1ff). We also can miss the sign if we fail to repent and change our lives.
- Seek wisdom (Prv 4:7). As the pagan queen of the South traveled great distances at great expense (1 Kgs 10:1ff), so should we spare no expense to seek wisdom now (Jas 1:5; Mt 2:1ff), lest we fall away from God (1 Cor 10:12).
- Spread the good news to nonbelievers, who will receive it (Acts 28:28).
Heed the sign of Jonah. Repent; humbly seek God's wisdom; evangelize. Enter the Kingdom of God.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, grant me the grace to "read the signs of the times" and act according to Your will (Mt 16:3).
Promise: "It was for liberty that Christ freed us." —Gal 5:1
Praise: Peter seeks out the signs instituted by Christ, the sacraments, in order to seek wisdom and strength to spread the gospel.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, May 1, 2008
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