Daily Mass Reflections - 7/23
“An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah the prophet” ~ Matthew 12:39
It has often been said that the definition of faith is the undying belief in that which cannot be seen, heard, touched or otherwise proven. The Pharisees in today’s Gospel had, at best, a faith that vacillated on a shaky foundation. Couple that with their hard-heartedness made manifest in their desire to uphold the precepts of the law over mercy and compassion, which was on display last week in Matthew’s Gospel, and it’s easy to see why Jesus felt the need to clear the air a little bit today.
In drawing a comparison to Jonah, who was called to preach conversion to the inhabitants of Nineveh, a city so large that legend had it one would need 3 days to walk it from stem to stern, Jesus is in fact giving those of a lukewarm faith the sign that they clamor for.
Repentance of the most sincere and humble form is what’s being called for, and just as Jonah spent 3 days in the belly of the whale, Jesus would ultimately spend “3 days and nights in the center of the Earth” and it will be those who have repented and accepted him as their Savior who will be spared condemnation and death. The Ninevites possessed a sincere desire to repent and did so in word and deed. As such, they were spared condemnation.
The world in this day and age can certainly feel at times to be rather unrepentant and unapologetic, and it’s easy to get caught up in the desensitized attitudes towards the sanctity of human life and basic dignity. These readings offer a stark reminder of God’s ways and our need to adhere to them.
We can certainly all learn something from the Ninevites.