Signs of God’s love
February 12, 2018
6th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Jas 1:1-11
Gospel: Mk 8:11–13
The Pharisees came and started to argue with Jesus. Hoping to embarrass him, they asked for some heavenly sign. Then his spirit was moved. He gave a deep sigh and said, “Why do the people of this present time ask for a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this people.” Then he left them, got into the boat again and went to the other side of the lake.
(Daily Gospel in the
Assimilated Life Experience)
In “Fiddler on the Roof”, a movie based on the book written by Joseph Steine, the leading character named Tevye asked his wife Golde this question: “Do you love me?” Refusing to answer the question directly she said, “For twenty-five years I’ve lived with him, fought him, starved with him. Twenty-five years my bed is his; if that’s not love, what is?” She was like telling him, “How foolish of you to ask such a question”. In fact she really told him, “You’re a fool!”
Jesus could say the same thing to his Chosen People. For love of them he became a wandering preacher with no place to lay even his head (Luke 9:58). He bore their illnesses (Is. 53:4), fought against their hypocrite religious leaders (Mt. 22:18), and fed them in a deserted place (John 6:11). He didn’t even have time to eat (Mark 6:31). Surprisingly they still asked him for some signs! Short of saying they were foolish for asking signs, Jesus exclaimed, “Why do the people of this present time ask for a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this people” (Mk.8:12).
Given the circumstances of Jesus’ all out ministry, to ask for a sign was itself a sign- an obvious sign of lack of faith. Jesus would have settled for the slightest indication of faith as insignificant as the size of a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20). He didn’t find an iota of it. “He was amazed at their lack of faith (see Mk. 6:4-6). Must love be rewarded with betrayal? The same people he taught, healed, fought for and fed shouted “Nail him to the cross!” (Mt. 27:23). Love is supposed to merit love (Amor con amor se paga). But it was “an evil and perverse generation” (Luke 9:41). An evil generation cannot love in return. Poor Jesus! After a lifelong ministry he returned to his Father with only one catch, and it was a small fish: the repentant thief. To this one alone he had the chance to explicitly assure salvation. He told him, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
We too are addicted to signs despite God’s divine providence actively at work in our lives. God gave us life, Jesus saved us from sin, and now we have become God’s adopted children. If that is not love, what is? –(Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M.
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