When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be to this generation.
The queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here! The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here!
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
If you read Chicago newspapers, you couldn’t miss the story some weeks ago about the city bar fight which caused a tragic death and a drawn-out legal fight, bringing a conviction but only a light sentence. It all ended with the victim’s mother saying “I never wanted vengeance, only an apology!” I suspect an earlier apology was disallowed by legal advice: what a shame! Thankfully, God isn’t held to such tactics.
Jonah never believed the Ninevites would listen to the message of repentance God wanted him to give; he tried desperately to avoid this “mission impossible.” But it turned out that the Ninevites did listen! They apologized – and God abandoned any plans of vengeance.
In referring to “the sign of Jonah” Jesus is telling us that he is bringing God’s word of forgiveness to us who are not so different from the Ninevites. We do bad and stupid things and often think we can’t be forgiven – when all God needs is an honest apology.
Lord, when I recognize my sin, help me turn to you with all my heart and hear you say to me what you said to another truly sinful person once: “Neither do I condemn you: go and sin no more!”
I turn to Jesus Christ, hanging on his cross, and I speak with him. I ask how can it be that the Lord and Creator should have come from the infinite reaches of eternity to this death here on earth, so that he could die for our sins.
And then I reflect on myself, and ask: –What have I done for Christ? –What am I doing for Christ? –What ought I do for Christ?
And I talk with Jesus like a friend.
—St. Ignatius Loyola: The Spiritual ExercisesPlease share the Good Word with your friends!