This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah.
Day Seven of Lent: Wednesday of the First Week of Lent – Luke 11
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” – Luke 11:29.
Today’s Lenten Reflection
The words from Jesus in today’s Gospel may seem a bit harsh, but at their root they are words of great hope. The “sign” of Jonah being in the belly of a whale for three days prefigured Jesus’ resurrection after three days – certainly a sign worthy of celebration. But Christ’s message was also clear in calling out an evil generation who continuously demands a “sign” while at the same time rejecting faith.
Look around. It doesn’t take much to see that evil is all around us. And because of this, it is also not difficult to understand where Jesus must have been coming from. Just like in His time, many people want a “sign” today – proof of who Jesus is and what He can do for them. The modern-day motto: No sign, no belief. But the message of the Gospel is founded upon a humble faith. Once rooted in that faith, a lost soul receives a promise of hope; a promise of a better future. Jesus dying on the Cross for our sins was proof enough of this. So like in the days of Nineveh, when God sees the faith (and humility) of His people, His miraculous mercy begins to abound because … “there is something greater than Jonah here” (Matt. 12:41).
The question today is, do we believe? Are we demanding a sign from God to prove to us something, or do we simply believe in Him – in His Word and in our two thousand years of Christian Tradition handed down to us and preserved by divine intervention? If we do believe, then let us be willing to do what Jesus asks of us as well and repent of our sins – our unbelief – in order to be set truly free.
Day 7 Lenten Meditation
Are you a news junkie or 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, this world can be an evil place. But today’s Scripture reading can give us hope, too. When we go back to the time of Jonah for example, we realize that while this world has always consisted of good and evil, through faith we can become the light of the world. In other words, you can be the change that you want to see! And you just need faith the size of a mustard seed (Lk 17:6). So today, spend time in prayer and ask God to increase your faith. If you do, He promises to not only answer your prayer but to fill you with hope and use whatever good you possess 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 through our faith. Please continue to 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 in the process. We pray this all in Your good and holy Name, Amen.
Today’s suggested Penance
Sacrifice some ordinary comfort or convenience today for the glory of God.
“Let nothing perturb you, nothing frighten you. All things pass. God does not change. [Faith] achieves everything” –Saint Teresa of Avila.
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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.