As the crowd increased, Jesus spoke the following words:
People of the present time are troubled people. They ask for a sign, but no sign will be given to them except the sign of Jonah. As Jonah became a sign for the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be a sign for this generation. The Queen of the South will rise up on Judgment Day with the people of these times and accuse them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and here there is greater than Solomon. The people of Nineveh will rise up on Judgment Day with the people of these times and accuse them, for Jonah’s preaching made them turn from their sins, and here there is greater than Jonah.
People normally pay attention to signs in practically every aspect of their lives, like a young woman who had been waiting for a sign whether or not to enter the convent. It seemed easier for her to wait for an external sign than to look deeply into herself with great honesty about what she really wanted to do with her life. She never got the sign she was expecting and she never made a decision until it was too late. Signs can carry different meanings and indications depending on people’s culture, personalities and backgrounds. Signs can be an object, a particular trait, or an event whose occurrence can indicate a probable happening, such as a portent of things to come. Jesus does not dismiss the importance of signs; he simply reproaches us of having tunnel visions, looking for signs that are based only on our own expectations, thus blinding us from seeing God’s presence and from hearing God’s call to conversion. Jesus draws our attention to himself as the sign we have been waiting for, challenging us to acknowledge our own frailties and sinfulness. The real sign of conversion is a contrite heart seeking to return to God.
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