This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah.
Day 8: Wednesday of the First Week of Lent – Luke 11:29
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.”
Today’s Lenten Reflection
These words from Jesus may seem a bit harsh today but at their root, they are actually words of great hope. The “sign” of Jonah prefigured Jesus’ resurrection, certainly a sign worthy of celebration. But Jesus’ message was also clear in calling out an evil generation.
How often have we looked around our own world today and seen evil? We understand well where Jesus was coming from. And just like the people of Jesus’ time, people today want a “sign.” Something to make clear perhaps that not all is lost, that we still have a chance to make things better in the world. While Jesus’ words may seem exasperated, we know that, in the end, this world is worth saving. There is always hope in making things better. Jesus came and died for us because every one of us was (and is) worth saving — even the people who put Him to death. Jesus’ mercy is unfathomable. He came to save all of us! Not just the righteous, not just the people who were getting everything right, but also the people who got everything wrong, the people who brought evil to bear on an otherwise beautiful world. That kind of grace and mercy is oftentimes difficult to wrap our minds around. We like the idea that Jesus came to save us, but did He really come to save “them”, whoever “them” may be? Yes, He did. Just as it was in Nineveh, when God sees our faith, our actions, our heart beat for Him today, His mercy abounds … because “there is [now] something greater than Jonah here” (Matt. 12:41). The question is: Do we believe it? Are we willing to repent and turn from our “wicked ways” in order to truly be set free?
Day 8 Lenten Meditation
Are you a news junkie, or maybe a social media maven? If so, the daily headlines and nightly news probably have you convinced that the more things change, the more they stay the same. To put it in Jesus’ terms, the world can feel “evil” sometimes. Beyond hope of repair even. But today’s Scripture reading, rather than bring us down, should actually give us a much-needed boost. Why? Because when we go all the way back to the time of Jesus, or even all the way back to the time of Jonah, we realize very quickly that this world has always consisted of both good and bad, light and darkness. Just like Jonah of his day, you are being called to be the light in this world. When we choose to do the right thing, to live according to the will of God, we join with Heaven in the holy pursuit of pouring light into the darkness. Our light has the power to create a transformational shift in our lives and in the lives of others around us, as well as in our world. We all have a part to play, and God will use whatever good we give in immeasurable ways.
Merciful God, we thank You for Your generosity and Your compassion. We promise to do our part and to be a force of good in the world. Be our Source of Light while we remain steadfast in shining ours in darkness. We humbly ask that You use all our fear and failures to bring us ever closer to You. Amen.
Today’s suggested Penance
*Sacrifice some ordinary comfort or convenience today
“Let nothing perturb you, nothing frighten you. All things pass. God does not change. Patience achieves everything” –Saint Teresa of Avila.
What was the sign of Jonah?
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus makes a reference to Jonah when He is asked for a “sign” by some of the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus says that the sign will be the “sign of Jonah.” In other words, Jonah’s restoration after three days inside the great fish prefigures Jesus’ own resurrection from the grave.