Monday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
(Galatians 4:22-24.26-27.31-5:1; Luke 11:29-32)
A story is told about a rabbi who walks through the woods and is accosted by a robber. “Give me the most precious thing you carry,” the thug demands. The rabbi thinks for a moment, then reaches into his bag and pulls out a huge diamond as big as a grapefruit. The robber takes the diamond and flees. Later the same day, however, he returns to the rabbi. He now orders the rabbi, “You better hand over to me the treasure that you have that made giving up the diamond so easy.”
Just as there is no satisfying the robber, there is no pacifying the people in the gospel passage who demand a sign from Jesus. Any further cure or exorcism that he performs would only create the desire to see additional works of wonder. There will never be enough evidence for them to believe that he comes from God because that takes a humble act of faith. That is, they will have to repent of all false desire and begin living God’s justice.
How about us? We may think that we are living pretty good lives. Perhaps we would give ourselves a “B+” or an “A-” for conduct. But we know that we would do better if we felt absolutely certain that God is in our midst. We too must consider that the Queen of the South and the people of Nineveh may condemn us as well those gathered to hear Jesus in the gospel. After all, God comes to us in word and sacrament in this very Eucharist, and still we only make an eighty-five to ninety percent effort.