Scripture: 1st Reading: James1,1-11; Resp. Psalm: Ps119,67-76; Gosp. Accl.: Jn14,6; Gospel: Mk8,11-13
The Pharisees today sought for a sign from our Lord to prove His authenticity as One who came from God. They sought for a confirmatory extraordinary cosmic manifestation that would convince them about the origin of our Lord. This was recorded as coming immediately after our Lord fed the crowd with just seven loaves and a few fish.
The Pharisees probably heard of this supernatural event that was beyond human explanation. But this fact alone did not convince them about the divine origin of the One who brought the miracle about. They still wanted a sign! The motive for their argument with Him was thus not to seek wisdom. Their motive was to test Him so that if He fell into the trap they had made they would have evidence with which to condemn Him.
Knowing what was in their minds, this brought anguish and deep sorrow to our Lord. The word today tells us that our Lord sighed from the depths of His spirit. The sadness was brought about by the evil and corruption that was prevalent in that generation. Our Lord in other instances referred to the generation as evil, adulterous and faithless.
As a result, our Lord who knew they were not seeking signs in order to understand the coming of the kingdom, solemnly promised them that no sign would be given to them. Signs could only be given to confirm faith. But in the absence of faith, sign is a useless distraction that offers no help. Our Lord knew the thoughts of their hearts. He knew their intentions and plans. He gave them the right answer.
We too, many times, seek for the irrelevant things in life. We seek for useless signs that bring us no profit. We seek for marvels beyond us to assuage our broken egos. When we open our eyes, ears, hearts and souls, we realize that miracles happen everyday, every second, minute and hour. God is never absent. Miracles do happen. But the distractions in our lives prevent us from seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary. We fail to see the hands of God at work in every facet of our lives.
This is where the word that we read today in the First reading comes in as a divine admonition. We are told that the testing of our faith produces steadfastness that makes us lack in nothing. The word tells us that if we lack wisdom to know what constitutes the will of God, we should ask God in faith and not with double minds and it will be granted to us. We must not allow worldly pursuits to take our hearts away from God because "the rich man will fade away in the midst of his pursuits."
God listens to us if we are truly with Him in our minds and hearts and souls. He hears our prayers and manifests His presence to us. We have no need of signs and portents. He does them every second, minute, hour, day. His merciful love is all around us. Let us open our eyes to see.
Let us pray: God our Father, you sent your Son to our world to open our eyes to your abiding presence. Make us realize that you are with us. Open our eyes to the marvels you do everyday in our world and our lives. Give us grateful hearts to use your gifts well. Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always. Rev. Fr. Anthony Igbekele