Listen to what the Lord is saying:
Stand up and let the case begin in the hearing of the mountains
and let the hills hear what you say.
Listen, you mountains, to the Lord’s accusation,
give ear, you foundations of the earth,
for the Lord is accusing his people,
pleading against Israel:
My people, what have I done to you,
how have I been a burden to you? Answer me.
I brought you out of the land of Egypt,
I rescued you from the house of slavery;
I sent Moses to lead you,
with Aaron and Miriam.
– ‘With what gift shall I come into the Lord’s presence
and bow down before God on high?
Shall I come with holocausts,
with calves one year old?
Will he be pleased with rams by the thousand,
with libations of oil in torrents?
Must I give my first-born for what I have done wrong,
the fruit of my body for my own sin?’
– What is good has been explained to you, man;
this is what the Lord asks of you:
only this, to act justly,
to love tenderly
and to walk humbly with your God.
Some of the scribes and Pharisees spoke up. ‘Master,’ they said ‘we should like to see a sign from you.’ He replied, ‘It is an evil and unfaithful generation that asks for a sign! The only sign it will be given is the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was in the belly of the sea-monster for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. 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. On Judgement day the Queen of the South will rise up 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.’
What is good has been explained to you, man; this is what the Lord asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God.
Many of us find ourselves asking, “What is the Lord’s will for me?” We desire to do God’s will but God doesn’t seem to be giving us a sign or showing us the way.
Today’s readings focus on this point, where in the first reading, God clearly explains to us, what He asks of us: “What is good has been explained to you, man; this is what the Lord asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God.” Something so simple, but yet so difficult to live out. Many times we find ourselves complicating matters in our lives, continuously asking God for a sign when the sign already has been given as mentioned in the Gospel.
As with Jonah and the Queen of the South, what they needed wasn’t a sign; what they needed was faith. Not just faith in themselves but faith in God. We are in our positions today because God has a plan with our lives. It is not about what we can do but about we allowing Him to work in our lives. However, most of us find ourselves in the person of Jonah, where we see such a task of following Christ and being His disciple is one that is not suited for us; a task in which we are bound to fail. We run away from our problems, avoid conflicts, we fail to respond and eventually we find ourselves inadequate, unworthy, insufficient. Or we can be like the Queen of the South where seeing is believing, where we are consumed by what one has rather than who one is. We chase fame and glory in the material world and we will go to the ends of the Earth to attain it.
Have we then been like Jonah where we are running away from the sign that has already been given? Or have we been like the Queen of the South, spending time, effort and money on a journey that ultimately leads us away from God?
Instead of asking, let us maybe focus on what we have been given and who we are now. For not only is the sign there but we are also called to be signs to others, witnesses of the truth and examples of love. Let us not just ask for a sign but let us respond to the sign that God has already given us. Amen.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Benjamin Mao)
Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray that you may continue to strengthen our faith, especially when it comes to doing something out of our comfort zone. That we may continue to find you already in our lives as well as to be you to all around us. We also pray for a greater awareness and surrender for those who have not encountered you yet. That they may not just keep asking but to also be still and to listen. To not just believe but to live it out every day in our lives.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for the many signs you have given us, through the people you have sent in our lives. Help us to treasure and cherish those who help lead us to you.