Tuesday, March 03, 2009

No Sign Will Be Given

March 4, 2009

Wednesday of the First Week of Lent

“Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God; every man shall turn from his evil way and from the violence he has in hand. Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath, so that we shall not perish." When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out. Jonah 3:8-10

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. Luke 11:31-32


God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that he will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen. (Reinhold Niebuhr)


We started out Lent with Jesus calling for us to repent. “Return to me with your whole heart,” we heard echo through the ages from the prophet Joel 2:12. He continues that theme and provides a little historical context for his audience. Thus the “sign of Jonah” is the preaching of the need for repentance by a prophet who comes from afar. Not only does this give his immediate audience a flashback but it also gives a fore-telling of Jesus’ own death and resurrection.

In the notes to the New American Bible, we learned that the Ninevites who repented and the queen of the south (i.e., of Sheba) were pagans who responded to the calls made by Jonah and Solomon, respectively. Some would say that their actions were in response to a much lesser opportunity than the one that faces Israel. Equating the success of the ministry of Jonah to the ministry of Jesus is like equating the likely success of the Woodson High School Cavalier football team in Super Bowl XLIV with that of the World Champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Yet we see that Jonah prevailed against his awesome foe like the USA Hockey Team in Lake Placid. We know similar success does not await Jesus.

Although Jesus says that “no sign will be given,” in fact just the opposite is true. A sign has been given. That sign is Jesus. In Luke 9, he fed 5,000 men with five loaves and two fish. There were many other signs and miracles and cures. The problem is, non believers will not accept the actual sign which is given.


This Lenten season, Jesus urges us to act in ways that will assure us that we will “inherit the kingdom.” Yet if we distance ourselves from Jesus, in the end, we face the possibility that we may run out of time needed to act, to close that distance. The inevitability of the final judgment day mans that in the fullness of time, any person who has chosen to reject the love of God and the needs of her or his neighbors will face the consequences.

Change the things you can change today.

No comments: