Monday, October 12, 2009

This Generation Will Seek A Sign. But No Sign Will Be Given To It, Except The Sign of Jonah.

Today’s First Reading is taken from Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (1:1-7).

The letter begins in the usual way at that time. First, the writer’s name, then, a brief description: “Paul, a slave of Jesus Christ”. In the Old Testament, “slave” described a loyal servant of God (for instance, Abraham and Moses in Psalm 105: 6, 26). Paul wanted to be Jesus’ obedient servant; in fact, he wanted to be obedient to the LORD as totally as a slave obeys his master.

Then, Paul says that he has been “called to be an apostle, and set apart for the Gospel”. At first, the word “apostle” referred to the twelve disciples whom Jesus had sent out to preach the good news (Luke 6:13). Paul tells the people of Rome that he has received a similar calling, to bring the Good News to the nations – the people of the rest of the world. (Galatians 1:15).

The next two verses tell us what the Good News consists of: Jesus, according to his human nature, belongs to the family of King David, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, he is the Son of God. In Peter’s speech to the people in the Temple Square on the day of Pentecost, God promised not to leave the “Holy One” in the grave, but raised him from the dead. The apostles were witnesses to the resurrection (Acts 2:24-33). The resurrection is the evidence that Jesus is the son of God.

Grace is, by definition, a gift that no one deserves. Once, Paul the Pharisee used to think that he could please God by obeying every detail of the law. Now he knows that eternal life cannot be earned by good deeds, but is God’s good gift. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, and for the sake of his name, Paul has received grace and the call to be an apostle, sent to call the people of the nations to “obedience that comes from faith”.

Among the disciples of Jesus in Rome, there certainly were some of Jewish origin, but many if not most of them were gentiles. Some manuscripts of this Epistle do not include the words, “in Rome”. This suggests that local churches outside of Rome received copies of this letter. Paul concludes by reminding them that they “are loved by God, and called to be saints. He wishes them “grace and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 98

R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous deeds;
his right hand and his holy arm
have won victory for him. R.

The LORD has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to the house of Israel. R.

All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,
burst into song; sing praise. R.

Today’s gospel is taken from Luke (11:29-32):
As the crowds increased, people began to demand evidence of Jesus’ authority. Jesus answered, “This is a wicked generation, which asks for miraculous signs. But no sign will be given to them, except the sign of Jonah. Jonah was the prophet who brought God’s message to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. He warned the people there that they must change their ways or God would destroy their city (Jonah 3:4) Jonah spent three days in the belly of a great fish (Jonah 1:17). This was evidence of the resurrection of Jesus on the third day (Matthew 12:38-40). Jesus continued, “The Queen of the south will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them. She came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and there is someone greater than Solomon here.” The people of Nineveh will also declare that the Jews of Jesus’ time are guilty, since when Jonah gave them God’s warning, the people of Nineveh repented their wicked ways, “and there is something greater than Jonah here.”


Sarah in the tent said...

Jesus wants us to come to him (like the Queen of Sheba) and repent (like the men of Ninevah).

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Amazing! Someone this morning on another website was asking about signs, and I mentioned the above passage but did not know where to find it. THEN, at today's mass, it turned out to be reading (!!) and of course I then new the reference. NOW, I find that you have posted a homily on it, so I will go back to that person and give her your URL. As I said, amazing! Although maybe seems to happen a lot!