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Monday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” Then he left them, got into the boat again, and went off to the other shore.
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, grant me a deeper faith that assents to your ways even when I don’t receive the sign that I expect.
- The Signs We Seek: The Pharisees had just witnessed the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, but that miracle didn’t satisfy them. Perhaps they were seeking signs according to their own presuppositions, their own logic? In those days, some believed that the bread from heaven, the manna of Exodus, would return with the coming of the Messiah. The bread from heaven was indeed before them (Jesus would allude to this in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life.”), yet they failed to recognize him. Jesus would institute the Eucharist at the Last Supper, and they missed it, too. Do I predetermine how God will act in my life in order to have faith? Or do I exercise faith to see what is before me, allowing space for mystery?
- The Sigh and the Sign: All through the Old Testament, God sent signs, foreshadowing what was to come to fulfillment in and through Jesus Christ, his Son. But here the Pharisees, who represented those whose are blind due to presuppositions, failed to recognize the fulfillment of all signs, the most efficacious sign, the Sacrament of God that stood before them. And Jesus sighed from the depth of his spirit, disappointed at their lack of faith. It seems that the breath that once gave life to our first parents at the beginning of time has no clay to bring to life, no faith to work with.
- He Went off to the Other Shore: What was Jesus to do? By their doubt, the Pharisees closed the door to his salvific action, so he went to the “other shore.” The Gentiles, knowing nothing of signs, would be given the opportunity to expand their horizons of faith. New life can awaken in the most remote and surprising of places because all it requires is an open heart; one willing to let go of self-righteous presuppositions; one willing to be humble before mystery.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, increase my faith and help me live in the mystery of your unseen but always present grace. Help me to assent to your ways, not mine.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will make an act of faith in your life-giving presence despite my own judgment of a situation.
For Further Reflection: Fr. Robert Barron on What Faith Is and What Faith Isn’t, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_4PSgFjtvI.
Jennifer Ristine is a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi who is dedicated to spiritual and faith formation through teaching, conferences, writing, and spiritual direction. While serving in Ancient Magdala she wrote Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala.