Seeking Our Lord
February 24, 2021 (readings)
- Wednesday of the First Week of Lent
- Cathy Stamper
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.”
Opening Prayer: Dear Jesus, light a fire within me. May I seek you as fervently as the queen sought Solomon’s wisdom. May I repent of my sins as wholeheartedly as did the Ninevites. Kindle in me the desire to follow you in all of my ways.
Demanding a Sign: Despite the fulfillment of dozens of major Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah, some in the crowd demanded yet more signs from Jesus. He offered another chance to these unbelievers by clearly stating that he was “something greater” than Jonah of the Old Testament, who was a sign of God’s love for the Ninevites, or King Solomon, who was sought for his wisdom by the Queen of Sheba. Jesus, himself, was the sign to Israel and the promised Messiah. Pagans such as the Ninevites and the Queen of Sheba turned their hearts to God when they met his imperfect messengers. These Jews had the most perfect sign in their midst, the Son of God himself, yet many did not believe.
Recognizing Our Lord: There is a warning here for followers of Christ today. Do we pick and choose which teachings of the Church conveniently align with our own opinions and desires? Or do we acknowledge “something greater” in Christ Jesus, and trust in the wisdom of his bride the Church? Jesus warns that the men of Nineveh and the Queen of Sheba will condemn the generations who fail to acknowledge God in their midst. We must take this warning to heart.
Seeking God at Great Cost: The Queen of Sheba went to great trouble and expense to seek out the wisdom of Solomon. A pagan ruler of Saba, in Southwest Arabia, she became a believer after visiting Solomon and learning of the God of Abraham. The people of Nineveh, a pagan Assyrian stronghold, converted to faith in the Lord when Jonah preached repentance to them. Seeking and following Jesus can be a costly undertaking. It can require painful detachment, lots of sacrifice, and little failures along the way. Yet, this process of transformation reaps for us eternal rewards beyond our imagining. “For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
Conversation with Christ: Lord, I thank you for your words and your presence. You are truly a God of second chances. Forgive me for the times I have doubted you, ignored you, or strayed from your ways. Strengthen my faith in you. I pray for true conversion in my heart.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will prayerfully read the first reading of the day, Jonah 3:1-10. I will reflect on the second chance you gave Jonah and the amazing results when Jonah followed your wishes. I will pray for courage and strength to do what you ask in my own life.
For Further Reflection: Finding God’s Will for You by St. Francis de Sales.
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