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, it might be asked, is Jesus so upset when the scribes and Pharisees ask him for a sign in today´s gospel?
The answer is that Jesus has already so cured many people and expelled so many demons as more signs would be redundant. Not only that but the scribes and Pharisees can judge from Jesus´ preaching that he is not an impostor. It is time for them to dismiss their doubts and heed Jesus´ message. Of course, following Jesus will exact such sacrifice that adopting a sceptical stance 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 minority but increasingly where Christianity is losing ground to scepticism, non-believers expect professed Christians to live the love that Jesus preached. We might argue like Jesus 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 foster an atmosphere of sincere care, especially the needy in our midst. Such actions will not only attract others to faith in Jesus but also make us more coherent in our following of him.