That line in this Gospel passage always gets me – He sighed from the depth of his spirit. Jesus’ has a bunch of people asking for a sign – some proof that He is who He says He is. Jesus pushes back saying that “no sign will be given.” The irony of it was He’s performed a bunch of signs – feeding the multitudes, cures and healings, raising people from the dead. So why couldn’t Jesus have just placated them and done something?
Hi everyone here’s my homily for Monday February 17, 2020. The readings for today’s Mass can be found here Thanks so much for stopping by to read this and even ore for sharing it on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and everywhere else people share social media posts and your feedback and comments! In Christ – Father Jim
Probably because nothing would’ve sufficed. The hardness of the Pharisees hearts who had already decided they didn’t like Jesus, didn’t care for His message, didn’t like how He was upsetting and unsettling what had been the status quo and what that could mean for them. They were coming purely from a perspective of what they would lose if Jesus was who He said He was.
That was completely different from the crowds who were hungry and only had a few loaves and fish; or a parent begging for their child to be cured, learning that the child had died and then would be amazed as Jesus brings that child back to life; or the deaf and mute man (that we heard about in Friday’s Gospel) who in his poverty and weakness was being brought forward by a crowd who were getting a little too excited and seeing Jesus as a miracle worker and using the man as “let’s see what he can do next” – whom Jesus takes away to a place that they are alone and there and then restores his hearing and speech (not to mention his dignity removing him from the spectacle the crowd had created). The people who experienced “signs” were people who believed, who had faith. Not necessarily perfect faith or belief – but they came from a place of openness, vulnerability, and went to Jesus, trusting He could and would do something.
That’s an important reminder for us in how we approach our prayers. When we have someone we love or care for that we’re praying for – a friend who is ill, a family member going through a rough time, or something we’re struggling with – do we approach prayer cautiously thinking that probably nothing is going to happen so best not to get our hopes up? Or in a demanding way with a specific expectation that our prayer has to be resolved in a specific way? In either of those instances, we’re like the Pharisees – putting Jesus on trial looking for Him to prove to us He is who He says He is. If it were to occur, if those prayers were answered in those ways, that “proof” would only suffice for today. We would be expecting him to respond to our beck and call and would treat our end of things – like going to Mass, as obligations that keeps us in check. Kind of like an insurance policy arrangement – I do this/God does that.
That’s what makes Jesus sigh. Jesus wants us to come from a place of complete trust and belief that He loves us – He desires our fullness of life now and for all eternity and we place our cares and burdens with Faith, with Hope, with Love – that’s when the Lord can work miracles, that’s what brings us freedom. That’s what makes us followers rather than interrogators of Christ.