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OCTOBER 11. Ord Time B. Wk 28 Mon. Lk 11. 29-32

The crowds got even bigger, and Jesus addressed them:


‘This is a wicked generation; it is asking for a sign. The only sign it will be given is the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. On Judgement day the Queen of the South will rise up with the men of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here. On Judgement day the men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation and condemn it, because when Jonah preached they repented; and there is something greater than Jonah here.’


As is pointed out at the beginning of this gospel Jesus at the time was talking to a large crowd which is something he was on earth to do; - to preach and instruct; - but some of the crowd wanted a sign to demonstrate he had authority from God; - otherwise they would not believe.


In response Jesus indicated they were “a wicked generation” for not heeding his message and he referred to a teaching from the Old Testament, which everybody at the time was familiar with; - namely the preaching of the Prophet Jonah; - who did provide a sign in that he dwelt in the body of a whale for three days, before being released to preach to the Ninevites.


Jonah was a prophet of things to come and, when he had called on the people of Nineveh to repent, they had done so “in sackcloth and ashes” because they believed. As a result, God showed mercy to them and cancelled the punishment planned for the city.


Christ wanted the people who were listening to him to accept his message in the same way.


In telling the crowd there would be no further signs than that provided by Jonah he did allude to a still greater sign that he would provide in the future; - his resurrection from the dead after he too had spent three days in his tomb.


While this “sign” was not explained at the time, Jesus did make it clear ‘the Queen of Sheba’ - a foreigner to Israel; - had travelled “from the ends of the earth” to hear the wisdom of Solomon; - but he was “greater than Solomon”, and they needed to heed his message.


One of the characteristics of Christianity, even today, is that people quickly forget all the signs God has provided to his people over the centuries. At the time of Christ there had been multiple prophets, from Moses, Jeramiah, Isaiah etc. In addition, everybody was familiar with the way God had delivered his people from slavery in Egypt; - together with the story of Abraham and how he had placed his faith in God.


But all this was “overlooked”; - and the people were looking for more miracles; - and choosing to ignore the miracle of Jonah, who was transported to Nineveh by a whale to call the people to repentance; - which is exactly what Christ was doing!


Do not people today continue to “overlook” the miracles and history of God’s dealings with his people; - along with the miracles and teachings of Christ in the Gospels which, as promised in today’s reading; were crowned with the ultimate miracle; - his resurrection from the dead?


Then there is the Church which Christ commissioned to go out and teach; - but it to is ignored by so many who refuse to believe?


If today you hear his voice; - harden not your heart?”


Gospel Acclamation cf.Ps94:8


Alleluia, alleluia!

If today you hear his voice,

harden not your hearts.

Alleluia!


First reading Romans 1:1-7 ·

Our apostolic mission is to preach the obedience of faith to all pagan nations


From Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus who has been called to be an apostle, and specially chosen to preach the Good News that God promised long ago through his prophets in the scriptures.


This news is about the Son of God who, according to the human nature he took was a descendant of David: it is about Jesus Christ our Lord who, in the order of the spirit, the spirit of holiness that was in him, was proclaimed Son of God in all his power through his resurrection from the dead. Through him we received grace and our apostolic mission to preach the obedience of faith to all pagan nations in honour of his name. You are one of these nations, and by his call belong to Jesus Christ. To you all, then, who are God’s beloved in Rome, called to be saints, may God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ send grace and peace.







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