Gospel: Lk 11:29-32
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.
A popular proverb states that “there are none so blind as those who will not see,” and this reflects pretty much a desolate complaint of the prophet Jeremiah about those foolish and senseless people “who have eyes and see not, who have ears and hear not” (Jer 5:21).
In today’s gospel reading we hear Jesus say about the scribes and the Pharisees, “they ask for a sign.” And this, after they had seen Jesus perform multiple exorcisms and countless miracles of healing. But these are not enough. They demand a sign that will end all possibility of doubt concerning Jesus’ claim to be coming from God. Presumably they require some sort of celestial firework which will absolutely floor them and compel them to believe willy nilly. But this would not be an act of faith, and faith needs to be free in order to be a meaningful gift of self. Those scribes and Pharisees just do not want to see what the crowds see so clearly, namely, that a very great man of God stands among them. And Jesus confirms this opinion of the crowds when he states that he is greater than Solomon, the proverbially wise king, and greater than Jonah, the converter of the Ninevites .