The Demand for a Sign
Setting out from Hamburg, Germany, one day to give a concert in London, violinist Fritz Kreisler had an hour before his boat sailed. He wandered into a music shop, where the proprietor asked if he could look at the violin Kreisler was carrying. He then vanished and returned with two policemen, one of whom told the violinist, “You are under arrest.”
“What for?” asked Kreisler. “You have Fritz Kreisler’s violin,” the policeman said. “I am Fritz Kreisler,” Kreisler answered. “You can’t pull that on us. Come along to the station,” said the policeman.
As Kreisler’s boat was sailing soon, there was no time for prolonged explanations. Kreisler asked for his violin and played a piece he was well known for. “Now are you satisfied?” he asked. They were! (From: Today in the Word, December 22, 1992)
How good are you at reading signs? The people of Jesus’ time expected that the coming of the Messiah would be accompanied by extraordinary signs and wonders to give proofs of His mission. That is why in today’s gospel the Pharisees ask for a sign. But their minds are already made up that Jesus is a fake messiah because there were already false messiahs who made great claims to attract followers, such as cleaving the Jordan River in two or causing the walls of Jerusalem to fall. Their intention is to expose Him as such, and thus to undermine His authority and even, hopefully, to completely discredit Him and have Him lose popular support.
But Jesus refuses to give them the sign that they requested to prove that He is the Messiah. It is because the miracles He has done even until now are spectacular enough. These should convince them who are honestly seeking the truth. Jesus says on another occasion to unbelieving Jews: “The works I do in My Father’s name testify to me. But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep” (John 10:25-26).
What about us? Every time we encounter events that are beyond human comprehension we ask God to give us signs to shed light on these events. There are certain situations that human reason cannot explain or verify. Most of the time we insist on these signs to dispel doubts in our hearts and minds.
That is why there are times that we fail to understand what God wants. Actually, He wants to reveal Himself in different ways and in different situations so that we may believe in Him all the more and have trust in Him. And this faith in Him is His gift to us, it is grace. It can only be received in humility and obedience. Applying this to our faith in Christ, Pope John Paul II said: “We cannot come to the fullness of contemplation of the Lord’s face by our own efforts alone, but by allowing grace to take us by the hand.” And the proper setting for the development and growth of our faith in Christ is “the experience of silence and prayer.” (TMA, no. 30)
And also God wants to respect our freedom. He gives us just enough light to accept the truth freely and just enough darkness to reject the truth if we do not want it. God does not want puppets. He wants sons and daughters.
OPTION 01, 02, 03,