Homilette for Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

(Exodus 14:5-18; Matthew 12:28-32

People are foolish not to seek a sign of good faith before they place their trust in a stranger. What bank would loan someone money without the person having collateral? Indeed, who would be allowed past the security gate at any public airport without producing identification? Then why, we should ask, is Jesus so upset when the scribes and Pharisees ask him for a sign in today´s gospel?

The answer must be that Jesus has already cured many people and expelled many demons as signs of his legitimacy. Not only that but the scribes and Pharisees can judge from Jesus´ preaching that he is not an impostor, but a true prophet and sage. It is time for them to dismiss their doubts and heed Jesus´ message. Of course, following Jesus will exact some sacrifice, and adopting a sceptical stance toward him will always seem easier.

People today look toward us Christians for a sign that Jesus is really divine. Not only in countries where Christians are a small minority but increasingly in Western countries where Christianity is losing ground to agnosticism and indifference, non-believers and doubters look toward professed Christians to live the love that Jesus preached. We might argue like Jesus does in the gospel that they will never be convinced. But it seems even more in line with Jesus’ teaching that we make more effort to live in solidarity with the poor and to foster an atmosphere of sincere care for one another in our parish communities. Such actions will not only attract others to faith in Jesus but also make us more coherent in our following of him.