Monday, July 20, 2015

"Why do we ask proof of the veracity of One who cannot lie?”

The case for Christianity in general is well given by Chesterton…As to why God doesn't make it demonstratively clear; are we sure that He is even interested in the kind of Theism which would be a compelled logical assent to a conclusive argument? ― C.S. Lewis: (1898 – 1963: English novelist and poet)

Gospel Text: (MT 12:38-42)
Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus,
“Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.”
He said to them in reply,
“An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign,
but no sign will be given it
except the sign of Jonah the prophet.
Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights,
so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth
three days and three nights.
At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah;
and there is something greater than Jonah here.
At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation
and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon;
and there is something greater than Solomon here.”

Everyone is familiar with the story of the man who is trapped on the roof of his house while a flood rages around him. He prays to God for deliverance. A short time later, a small boat motors down the flooded street. The man prefers to stay where he is, confident that God will save him.

Soon after, with the floodwaters continuing to engulf the house, a larger boat offers to evacuate him. Declining once again, the man is sure that he should stay where he is, so sure is he that God will come to his rescue. The rains continue and the water rises.

As the torrent engulfs the house, the man climbs to the top of the chimney. While there, awaiting God's intervention, a rescue helicopter lowers a ladder, but the man declines the help. "I know that God will save me," he says to the pilot.

Inevitably, the man is swept away in the water and drowns. When he appears before God, the man is sorely disappointed. "I had such confidence in you, Lord" he says, "How could you abandon me?"

"Abandon you?" God replies. "What more could you want? I sent you two boats and a helicopter!"

Misdirected expectations can blind us to the working of God in our lives.

In today's Gospel, Jesus calls his generation an evil one, because "it seeks a sign." Like the man caught in the flood, many of Jesus' contemporaries are not impressed by his words, his miracles, or even his assertion that he has the power to forgive sins. They want something more.

Jesus could just as well have been speaking to our own generation as to his. We are so accustomed to being over-stimulated by the ready access to data and information that our technology gives us, that reflection and contemplation can easily be pushed to the margin of our existence. The need for constant novelty is a sign of an unsettled mind and heart.

If we neglect to ponder our life and its circumstances, we will be unlikely to discover the subtleties of God's activity in our souls.

Jesus had already given many signs attesting to his Messiah-ship. He promises one more, "the sign of Jonah." Jesus is referring not only to his Passion, Death and Resurrection - symbolized by Jonah's three-day adventure in whaling - but also to his central message, "This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:15).

In a way, it is natural to want signs to verify our convictions. However, the signs that God sends may not be what we expect. Perhaps what we really need is the capacity to ponder our life in the presence of God - to pray - in order to discover how the Lord wants to lead us.

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