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 valuable thing you carry,” the thug demands. The rabbi thinks for a moment, then reaches into his bag and pulls out a diamond as big as a grapefruit. He tells the robber, “You must mean this.” The robber takes the diamond and flees. Later the same day, he returns to the rabbi. He now orders, “You better hand over to me the treasure that made giving up that 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 further desire to see works of wonder. There will never be enough evidence to convince them that he comes from God because such a move requires 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? If you are like me, we both think that we are living pretty good lives. We might 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 today’s gospel. After all, God comes to us in word and sacrament in this very Eucharist, and still we only make a ninety percent effort.