Commentary on the Gospel of
Have you ever pleaded with God to give you a sign? I haven’t recently, but I can remember a handful of times asking God for a sign. I usually did this when I found myself torn with a decision I needed to make. The idea of signs is interesting to me.
How do we interpret “signs”? How do we know that a sign is actually a sign and not my desire for a sign creating something out of nothing? Does God actually send us signs? I think it’s an interesting subject to ponder.
In the readings for today, Jesus says that Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites. Place yourself into the first reading. Imagine yourself as a Ninevite, minding your own business, chopping wood or washing the laundry. Imagine Jonah, a stranger, walking through town shouting that God was going to destroy your town. How would you react? Would you take this as a sign from God?
As I imagine myself in the scene, I think I would be more skeptical. I think I would pass Jonah off as a lunatic and go back to my laundry. If I’m honest with myself, as I publicly wave him off I might also secretly repent out of fear that he was right. I might ask God to give me a sign that his sign is truly a “sign”!
Whether signs are actually inspired by God or our own imaginations, the message of the readings today remains clear: repent. Jonah and the Son of Man preached the same message to different crowds and in different places. The message, preached to us through the Bible, reaches us now in our own town and as we go about our own business. Recognize how we fail to love God and choose sin so that we can repent and join Jesus in heaven at our own judgment.
As we continue through the Lenten season, I pray that each of us repents. God already sent us our sign, his son. Repent and choose God. Choose life, freedom, truth and love.