Monday - Ordinary Time
1) Opening prayer
our help and guide,
make your love the foundation of our lives.
May our love for you express itself
in our eagerness to do good for others.
You live and reign with the Father and the
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel Reading - Luke 11,29-32
The crowds got
even bigger and Jesus addressed them, 'This is an evil generation; it is asking
for a sign. The only sign it will be given is the sign of Jonah. For just as
Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of man be a sign
to this generation.
Day the Queen of the South will stand up against the people of this generation
and be their condemnation, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear
the wisdom of Solomon; and, look, there is something greater than Solomon here.
Day the men of Nineveh will appear against this generation and be its
condemnation, because when Jonah preached they repented; and, look, there is
something greater than Jonah here.
● The Gospel today presents a very
hard accusation of Jesus against the Pharisees and the Scribes. They wanted
Jesus to give them a sign, because they did not believe in the signs and in the
miracles which he was working. This accusation of Jesus continues in the
Gospels of the following days. In meditating on these Gospels we have to be
very attentive not to generalize the accusation of Jesus as if it were
addressed to the Hebrew people. In the past, the lack of this attention,
unfortunately contributed to increase anti- Semitism in us Christians, which
has caused so much harm to humanity throughout the centuries. Instead of
pointing out the finger against the Pharisees of the time of Jesus, it is
better to look at ourselves in the mirror of the texts to discover in them the
Pharisee which lives hidden in our Church and in each one of us, and who merits
this criticism from Jesus.
● Luke 11, 29-30: The sign of
Jonah. “At that time, the people crowed and Jesus began to say: This is an evil
generation; it is asking for a sign. The only sign it will be given is the sign
of Jonah”. The Gospel of Matthew says that it was the Scribes and the
Pharisees who were asking for a sign (Mt 12, 38). They wanted Jesus to work a
sign for them, a miracle, in such a way that they could become aware if he was
the one sent by God, as they imagined. They wanted Jesus to submit himself to
their criteria. They wanted to fit him in to the framework of their own idea of
the Messiah. In them there was no openness for a possible conversion. But Jesus
did not submit himself to their request. The Gospel of Mark says that Jesus,
before the request of the Pharisees, Jesus sighed profoundly (Mk 8, 12),
probably because he was upset and sad in the face of such blindness; because it
serves nothing to try to show a beautiful picture to a person who does not want
to open the eyes. The only sign that will be given is the sign of Jonah. “For
just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of man be
a sign to this generation “. How will this sign of the Son of man be? The
Gospel of Matthew responds: “For as Jonah remained in the belly of the
sea-monster for three days and three nights, so will the Son of man be in the
heart of the earth for three days and three nights” (Mt 12, 40). The only
sign will be the resurrection of Jesus. This is the sign which will be given in
the future to the Scribes and the Pharisees. Jesus, who was condemned to death
by them and to death on the cross, will rise from the dead by God and will
continue to resurrect in many ways in those who believe in him. The sign which
converts is not the miracles but the witness of life!
● Luke 11, 31: Salomon and the
Queen of the South. The reference to the conversion of the people of Nineveh
associates and recalls the conversion of the Queen of the South: “The Queen of
the South will stand up against this generation and be their condemnation;
because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and
look, there is something greater than Solomon here”. This reminder almost
occasional of the episode of the Queen of the South who recognizes the wisdom
of Solomon, shows how the Bible was used at that time. It was by
association. The principal rule for the interpretation was this one: “The Bible
is explained by the Bible”. Up until now, this is one of the more important
norms for the interpretation of the Bible, especially for the Reading of the
Word of God, in a climate of prayer.
● Luke 11, 32: And Look there is
something greater than Solomon here. After the digression on Solomon and on
the Queen of the South, Jesus returns to speak about the sign of Jonah: “The
men of Nineveh will appear against this generation and be its condemnation,
because when Jonah preached they repented”. The people of Nineveh were
converted because of the witness of the preaching of Jonah and he denounces the
unbelief of the Scribes and of the Pharisees. Because “something greater
than Jonah is here”. Jesus is greater than Jonah, greater than Solomon. For
us Christians, he is the principal key for Scripture (2Co 3, 14-18).
4) Personal questions
● Jesus criticizes the Scribes and
the Pharisees who managed to deny the evidence, rendering themselves incapable
to recognize the call of God in the events. And we Christians today, and I, do
we deserve the same criticism of Jesus?
● Níneveh was converted because of
the preaching of Jonah. The Scribes and the Pharisees were not converted.
Today, the calls of reality cause changes and conversions in people in the
whole world: the ecological threat, urbanization that dehumanizes, consumerism
which standardizes and alienates, injustice, violence, etc. Many Christians
live far away from these calls of God which come from reality.
5) Concluding prayer
servants of Yahweh,
praise the name
Blessed be the
name of Yahweh,
henceforth and for ever. (Ps 113,1-2)