“This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah!” (Luke 11:29)
Jesus having been accused of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub explains that a kingdom cannot be divided against itself. To those expecting some magical performance from Him, Jesus said: “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” (Luke 11:29).
Why did Jesus call them evil? By accusing Jesus of using the power of demons, their hearts were hardened already. Even if they had seen signs, they still wouldn’t have believed. I guess you have heard the saying: “Never explain yourself to anyone; your real friends don’t need it and your enemies would never believe you.”
The Centurion who was a stranger to the faith believed Jesus completely even to the point of asking Jesus to only speak the word for his servant to be cured. The centurion’s faith was based simply on what he heard about Jesus. But there were some people who had seen Jesus perform several wonders yet, did not believe.
Jesus would have easily performed one miracle to put the case to rest but He didn’t. Why? That would be falling into the same temptation that Satan brought to Him when he took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple and said, “Show the world that you are Son of God by jumping down from here.” Jesus did not fall into the temptation of using his Divine Powers for self-glorification.
Jesus always worked miracles and did signs and wonders for the good of the people in need of such signs and not for his personal glory. This is why he always told them afterwards to “tell no one about it.” Jesus did not perform a sign there and then for this crowd because that would be vain-glory. As a minister, do I perform miracles or give testimonies to exult myself or for the genuine good of the people?
On the other hand, do I go to church like these people in today’s Gospel passage demanding signs and wonders from God before I can believe? Jesus called them an evil generation. What would Jesus say of our own generation? Again, as Jesus said to the people Bethsaida and Chorazin (towns where most of his miracles were worked), there would be woes for us if we do not repent from sin after witnessing miracles. (Cf. Matthew 11:21, Luke 10:13)
Lastly, in today’s first reading, St. Paul reminds us of our essential freedom as Christians. Our freedom comes from the fact that we were not born of slavery but have become adopted Sons and Daughters of God by virtue of the blood Jesus shed on our behalf on Calvary. We need to understand the context of freedom here. It is not a license to do whatever we feel like doing rather it is the grace to do exactly what God wants us to do without any excuses.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, increase my trust in you. Even when I don’t see signs, may I continue to wax strong in the faith. Amen.
Bible Study: Galatians 4:22-5:1, Psalm 113:1-7 and Luke 11:29-32).
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