July 21, 2008
Monday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Matthew 12: 38-42
Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, "Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you." He said to them in reply, "An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here. At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here."
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I come before you wanting to grow in my knowledge of you and wanting to grow in love for you. I want to show my love by truly loving others as you have loved me. My falls are many, yet I trust in your grace never to stay down and always to get up. I trust that your mercy will change my heart. So I stand before you, ready to listen to your words and ready to unite myself more perfectly to your most holy will.
Petition: Lord, I want to embrace you with every ounce of my being. Please increase and strengthen my faith.
1. Who Should Perform Signs? Jesus renounces the Pharisees and scribes because their intentions are evil. They have not come to believe in his word, despite the many signs he did for them and many others. They want to control Jesus. How often do we demand, even in subtle ways, that God perform signs for us? Often we do this as a condition to taking steps forward in our path towards Jesus, because deep down we do not want to change our lives radically for him, as we know we should. Christ has performed a mountain of signs for each one of us; now it is our turn to perform signs for Jesus and show him that we are serious about wanting to be saints, not just good Christians.
2. Faith, a Treasure Beyond Measure People believe the words of prophets. Christ tells us he is much greater than all the prophets. Our relation with Christ comes down to one of faith. How often did Christ tell the apostles that they lacked faith? This saddened Christ. He told them that if they had the faith the size of a mustard seed, they would be able to move mountains. Jesus wants to awaken in us the appreciation for the immense power we will have if we grow in our faith in him. Pray hard for this gift of gifts.
3. True Faith Liberates When we consider the state of the world today, we might become discouraged, or even depressed. The attacks on the family and the youth, the violence and militant secularism – all these indicate that the souls of many men are quite dark. Yet we know that Christ is the light of the world. He won the greatest victory: He destroyed sin, and he destroyed death. Man is free to abuse the gift of freedom, but man is also truly free to choose Christ, the way, the truth, and the life. When we grow in faith in Jesus Christ, we allow him to live in us, and we allow him to take over every aspect of our lives. In turn, he will touch the hearts of many – if we only had faith the size of a mustard seed!
Conversation with Christ: Lord, teach me to use my freedom wisely. You have entrusted me with much. May I show you signs of fidelity and love.
Resolution: I will seek to learn more about our faith and to talk with someone about what I learn.
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