28th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Gal 4:22-24, 26-27, 31—5:1
Brothers and sisters: It is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the freeborn woman. The son of the slave woman was born naturally, the son of the freeborn through a promise. Now this is an allegory. These women represent two covenants. One was from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; this is Hagar. But the Jerusalem above is freeborn, and she is our mother. For it is written: Rejoice, you barren one who bore no children; break forth and shout, you who were not in labor; for more numerous are the children of the deserted one than of her who has a husband. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are children not of the slave woman but of the freeborn woman. For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.
Gospel: Lk 11:29-32
While still more people gathered in the crowd, 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. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.”
OPENNESS TO THE WORD: How is Jonah a sign? He called the Ninevites to conversion. They listened, to him fasted, did penance and changed. Jesus too called the Jews for conversion. But instead of allowing the Word to penetrate their hearts and be converted, they question his authenticity. They demand more miracles. Jesus asks them to learn from people of Nineveh who listened with open hearts to the preaching of the prophet and were converted. The people of Nineveh will condemn Jesus’ critics as they failed to accept the message of a greater prophet than Jonah. What about our generation? Our arrogance of being knowledgeable can block our capacity to know the greater wisdom of God. We need humility to accept the wisdom of the Word of God to transform our life.
Prayer: Lord, give us a humble heart to listen and obey your word.
FINDING THE RIGHT FIT: In the Gospel, Jesus warns against a stiff-necked generation that does not repent before seeing a sign. People who are so adamant in their ways that they refuse to change, provoke God’s anger. Ninevites cared to lend their ears to Jonah and they repented. Thus, they were preserved. Their woes would have reached a climax had they ignored the call of Jonah for conversion. What we require is openness to God’s guidance. This guidance comes from within, and spreads to all who care to listen. This is the guidance that needs to inspire us as we work. The Church gives us daily readings of the scriptures and the sacraments, mainly the Eucharist and Reconciliation. These are food for the way. Through these, we hear the Lord asking us to repent and we shall not need to ask for additional signs.
PRAYER: God who guides our lives, may we move to a daily conversion and get closer to you.
GOD REVEALS: Luke writes his Gospel addressing Christians of Greek origin. For them, God is ‘the one who is seen.’ The Greek word for God, theos, has the same root as the verb ‘to be seen’ theastai. It is true that no one has ever seen God. However, He makes himself visible to us in signs. People who were initially not part of the covenant, the queen of south, or even those who are considered sinners, as the Ninevites, recognized the presence of God and were converted. We can acknowledge God’s presence in many signs in our daily lives. Everything around us speaks of God; People, events and the beautiful creation: they are visible signs of God’s love.