“Some 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.’”
The Pharisees look for a sign; they seek advantage through them. We know what they want. They seek not to believe but to manipulate. Their interests are not from the heart but from concrete; they wish to build something, a case, for themselves. They crave for knowledge to contrive. They seek His companionship because they want His capitulation. They lift up the listener's heart with false hopes, so as to grab on to it and knock it down.
So what is the sign that Christ will give? “Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.” The greatest sign the Lord will give is to recover what was lost. His mission is to recover what is lost.
God will die. God will rise.
The Son will die. The Son will rise.
Everything will be lost. Everything will be restored.
The Christ will be forsaken. The Christ will be rewarded.
The Lord will be stripped. The Lord will be adorned.
The meek shall be disgraced. The meek shall be honored.
The faithful shall be abandoned. The faithful shall seek the lost.
All will appear lost. All will reappear.
Christianity will fall. Christianity will rise.
The Church will die. The Church will rise.
The Church has seen many dark days. It is her destiny. “No slave is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they shall persecute you.” The Church has had to deal with grave and serious scandals, but none is greater than the scandal of forgiveness. This is what the Church does best. All the scandals in the world have forced us to remember why the Church exists: to forgive sins, to get people to heaven, to reunite lost loved ones with their Maker and Redeemer. To recover what is lost. Search and Recovery! This is the purpose, the mission, the reason for the Church. It is to give the world signs towards wonder!
The Sacraments are the marvelous signs of God’s presence among us. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a reminder of our unfailing failures and His unfailing Forgiveness. The Eucharist is a reminder of our conditional love and His unconditional Love and Sacrifice. The Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation are a reminder of our filth, our need to wash, and a celebration of His amazing springs of living water, our destiny. The Sacrament of Marriage (or Orders) is a reminder of what we seek most and His extreme personal promise of love, commitment and fidelity towards us. The Sacrament of the Sick reminds us of our limitations, our pains, and His Passion, which is Our Hope. Christ's signs are signs that point towards Him.
Christ’s story is our story. It is the true story of life. We are to seek signs of life from ruin, from a tomb; to look beyond the ravages of sin and see interior beauty; to see signs of life underneath the mud. It is our way to life. It begins with a low note. It ends with a high note. It begins with a diminuendo. It ends with a crescendo! It begins with our faces covered in mud. It ends with our faces washed in His love. It begins with a fall. It ends with a rise.
The devil’s story is not our story, but it is very familiar to all of us. It begins with a crescendo. It ends with a diminuendo. It begins with a “rise” – a false hope, a lie, a build-up. It always ends with a fall - a let-down, a slaughter, reality – mud in our face, gravity!
Rise up O men of God,
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and soul and mind and strength,
To serve the King of Kings.
Rise up O men of God,
His Kingdom tarries long,
Bring in the day of brotherhood,
And end the night of wrong.
Lift high the Cross of Christ,
Tread where His feet have trod.
As brothers of the Son of Man,
Rise up O men of God.