Gospel: Mt 12:38-42
Then, some teachers of the law and some Pharisees spoke up, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.“ Jesus answered them, “An evil and unfaithful people want a sign; but no sign will be given, them except the sign of the prophet Jonah. In the same way, as Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of Man spend three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
At the judgment, the people of Nineveh will rise with this generation, and condemn it; because they reformed their lives at the preaching of Jonah, and here, there is greater than Jonah. At the judgment, the Queen of the South will stand up and condemn you. She came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and here, there is greater than Solomon.
It is often said: “To him who has genuine faith, no sign is needed; to him who has no faith no amount of signs is sufficient.“ In spite of the many miracles that Jesus performed in their presence, the Pharisees remain in their hardness of heart and demand that he perform more signs to prove he is the Messiah. The Lord, however, does not give in to their request because they won’t believe anyway. He points to the sign of Jonah which prefigures his Paschal Mystery (Passion, Death and Resurrection). At the same time, the sign of Jonah brings to mind the positive response of the Ninevites when they heard Jonah’s preaching on repentance. They humbly accepted their sinfulness, did penance and reformed their lives as manifestation of their genuine conversion.
Why do we find it difficult to trust God at times? Like the Pharisees, sometimes we succumb to the temptation to ask God for signs as proofs of his presence and his will. While there are times when signs are helpful, an undisputable proof of faith in God is our ability to trust Him simply and absolutely.