Today’s reflection was written by Brother Dominique Olondo, C.F.X.
While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
“This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation.”
“What does Jesus say about our generation?” That is the main question. Does our generation receive a stern warning from him? A miracle or a sign was a characteristic of the prophets that the Jewish people had come to expect. Miracles and signs authenticated the prophets claims to be the messengers from God. When the religious leaders pressed Jesus to give proof for his claims, he said in so many words, “I am God’s sign. You need no further evidence.”
Jonah was God’s sign to the people of Nineveh. At his say so, they repented. Likewise, the Queen of Sheba recognized God’s wisdom in Solomon. Unfortunately, the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day, despite the numerous signs he performed, did not repent. They rejected the message of repentance preached by John the Baptist, refusing to return to the river Jordan, the place where Israel first entered the Promised Land. The religious leaders were so obsessed with seeking a sign they missed the Presence of the Messiah. They would rather attempt to work their way to heaven by living by their adherence to a set of laws, rather than by following the compassionate actions of Jesus Christ that were not always in accord with their laws and customs.
Going back to the question, “what does Jesus say about our generation?” Would Jesus say we are an evil generation? Do we miss his Presence in our world because we are focused on our versions of the way miralces and signs should be? The season of Lent provides us an opportunity to see things differently. We should stop looking for our signs. Jesus was and remains the Ultimate Sign, may we see his Presence in our ordinary lives.
Take 10-15 minutes for the following exercise.
Recall that you are in the presence of God.
Listen to your breath. Come to a place of interior quiescence. Jesus breathed just like you do now. God was embodied, incarnate fully in the person Jesus. This remains the Ultimate Sign of God’s Presence to us.
In relation to an awareness of your body, your breathing, and your mind, focus on the Ultimate Sign, Jesus Christ. Can you find an intimacy with His reality on Earth. The reality of Presence need not be understood, but does this enigmatic encounter with Jesus move you in any way? Does it unsettle you, challenge you, scare you? Or does it put you at ease or give you peace? Be aware of these movements as you focus your mind on the Ultimate Sign, on the Presence of God among us.
Good and gracious God, we are always returning, always in a movement toward our true home. We know that “our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” As we begin the discipline of the season of Lent, give us the grace to begin our journey back to our true home. May we travel this journey wholeheartedly, not simply ‘rending our garments’ superficially, but truly placing ourselves in the hands of your Divine Mercy and experiencing your ineffable and unconditional love. May we who follow the Xaverian Way, commit ourselves to renewing our family and being your compassionate presence in our world today. We ask this in the name of Jesus, your Son and our brother. Amen.