Reflection on Luke 11.29-32 (Lent)

Jesus said: This generation is an evil generation; it asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.

Today’s reading begs the question, ‘What more do I need to do or say to convince you of the truth?’ Jesus, the Christ, the promised Messiah, is walking and talking, teaching and preaching, healing and working miraculous signs, and yet the crowds ask for more. Their vision is restricted by their limited intellects and their stunted imaginations. Rather than rejoicing in the times they are living through they are, like Oliver Twist, asking for more.

In response to the crowd’s request for even more miraculous signs, Jesus refers to the story of Jonah in the Old Testament. Rather than pandering to the demands for signs as though his repertoire as a wandering conjuror were being tested to its limits, Jesus speaks of the miraculous repentance of the sinful city of Nineveh as a result of Jonah’s acceptance of God’s call to prophetic preaching. Despite his initial hesitancy, Jonah did take the Lord’s word into a corrupt society, and that word was heard. The people turned from their sinful ways and the Lord spared them.

Today we are being challenged to step outside the crowd that demands empirical evidence when it should be responding in joyous faith. Today we are being called to accept that the Son of God has walked this earth, and has brought salvation for those who are willing to accept God’s ultimate act of love for humanity. Today’s teaching is clear … stop asking for more and be grateful for all that God has given us, his own Son.

Let us pray that our eyes might be opened to the wonders of Jesus’ incarnation, and his sharing in the totality of the human condition. Let us pray that we might be thankful for God’s gracious, generous and healing love. Let us pray that our eyes might be opened and our imaginations freed as we journey in the company of the one whose wisdom so far exceeds any human wisdom.