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The demand for a sign



Luke 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.”



SOMETHING GREATER THAN JONAH HERE. There is a tinge of exasperation in the words of Jesus in the Gospel, as he calls the people of his time “an evil generation” because it seeks a sign. Jesus understands this as a lack of faith on their part that he is sent by God.

Jesus thus invites them to reflect on the events involving Jonah and the Ninevites as well as the Queen of the South: how these people were docile to God’s promptings. And yet, they (the people of Jesus’ time) are supposed to be more fortunate because “something greater than Jonah” is with them. Their problem is not the absence of a sign but the lack of openness and docility on their part to welcome Jesus in faith.

What prevents people from heeding Jesus’ word and repenting is that they seek different signs from Jesus. They expect revolutionary signs and extraordinary manifestations of political power that can topple the empire that has conquered them. But this is not what they see Jesus doing. And so they keep on seeking.

We may be surrounded by many displays of God’s presence and power, but we prefer to dictate what God should do. We think we know what we need, what is best for us, forgetting that God knows much better, to say the least. And so, we fail to see God’s message for us in the divine signs.

Do we have hearts ready to accept God’s signs even if they differ from what we think we need or what we want to see?


SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail:; Website:

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