Wednesday of the 1st Week of Lent

Luke 11:29-32

The Demand for a Sign


Jonah and Jesus. Both were sent by God. Both were buried for some days and nights and reappeared. Both called for repentance. But here the similarities end. While Jonah tried to escape from God, Jesus came to do the will of God. While Jonah did not like the repentance of the Ninevites, Jesus wanted nothing more than the people to repent for He came to save. While the call of the prophet Jonah was heard by those pagans who repented, the call of, the call of the Son of God remained mostly unheard by His own people. Instead of repenting, they crucified Him.

Jonah’s call was brief: “”Forty days more or else.” Jesus gives us a lifetime, but in the end there will be judgment. In other words, the call remains the same: “Repent or else!”

The Church gives us these forty days to look into ourselves, to admit our faults, to turn away from sin, to repent. God speaks to us through Scriptures, through the Liturgy of Lent, through homilies, recollections or retreats we attend. But God also speaks through the events of time, through friends, he might even speak through someone whom we consider our enemy, for He might be more frank us than a friend. Anyone who calls us from wrongdoings, from dishonesty, from injustice, is sent from God into our life to bring us back to Him who desires our salvation.

Again, Jonah and Jesus offer a choice! Do accept the call like the Ninevites or do I reject the call like the contemporaries of Jesus? In the end it is not God who sends hell. It is I myself who choose it through my many free but wrong choices, through my reluctance to heed the call for repentance. (Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


Signs and Wonders. This is the title of a radio program I used to listen to as a theologian in Tagaytay; it was anchored by a Dominican priest. People are always interested about signs, visible signs. In today’s gospel account we read Jesus remarks: “This is an evil generation, it looks for a sign.” Jesus is the great sign of the Father’s love and mercy. He went around showing people the Father’s generous love. They refused to put their trust in Jesus. He was so ordinary a sign. They searched for something spectacular.

For those who believe, no sign is necessary. Faith is enough. Jesus has done enough works and signs: “Anyone who sees me sees the Father also,” Jesus says. The Eucharist is the greatest sign of Jesus’ abiding presence. May this Lent bring us all to a renewed devotion and appreciation of the visible sign of Jesus’ presence in this world. (Fr. Yoyo Rebucias, SVD Bible Diary 2008)


In today’s gospel the people questioned Jesus and insisted that He should do something sensational to prove that he really was the anointed of God. To this, Jesus answered, “This generation is evil….no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” They could not see that the greatest sign was right before their eyes: Jesus Himself. In fact, they were so privileged because God has given them a sign far greater than the sign He gave to the Ninevites in the person of Jonah.

Human as we are, we need signs and symbols to comprehend things. Today we ask: What are the signs of God’s presence among us? For the man of faith, all creation points to the existence and continual presence of God on earth. For Christians, the common sign of God’s love is the cross. God’s love materialized when He gave us His Beloved Son. And in the cross, we see Jesus’ great love as that of His Father, when He offered His life for us all. Every time we make the sign of the cross, we are reminded of the ever-enduring presence of the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – in our lives. We also have the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist, through which the living Christ effects on us His saving grace. In the sacramental signs of bread and wine, we see Jesus. He who in a bloody way offered His life on the cross, now gives Himself in the Eucharist. For the many occasions that we, like the people of Nineveh, doubted Christ’s presence in our lives and mistrusted His words, let us repent and ask for God’s forgiveness. (Fr. Ernesto Salvar, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


February 17, 2016 Wednesday

On getting his driver’s license, a young man was asked about what the colors of the traffi c lights meant. He got it all correct except for the color red about which he said: “Of course red means, go faster!” What do you think happened next?

The traffic lights help drivers navigate the road in an orderly manner. Without them, chaos ensues. As we go through the 40 days of Lent, we can draw lessons from the colors of traffic lights.

RED means “stop” – find some quality time each day for silence, reading and reflecting on God’s Word or just quieting down. Identify a specific time and place, and be committed to this “bonding time” with God. It also entails discipline. Any wish or desire to grow or advance in anything needs discipline. But never fail to enjoy each moment.

YELLOW means “yield” – having found the time to reflect on God’s Word vis-a-vis your life, you are invited to introspect, to look within yourself and “recognize” behaviors/attitudes and memories that have been enslaving you and that need mending or healing.

GREEN means “go” – being able to identify what needs to be mended and healed, the next task is to “go” and “move forward” and “be not afraid to seek healing from past hurts and move on with life”. Go also means, seek the best for you and what God wishes of you; help bring the best out of others; be an instrument of healing and peace; bring justice and compassion to the least, last, and lost. Go walk humbly and cheerfully with Jesus and Mama Mary each day! You are precious and valuable more than you know! (Fr. Flavie Villanueva, SVD CT, Manila Bible Diary 2016)


Lukas 11:29-32. Unsa man ang makapangil-ad sa usa ka katilingban? Diha sa ebanghelyo si Jesus nakatuwaw diha sa pag-ingon, “Pagkadautan gayod sa katawhan niining panahona!” Nabungat niya kini tungod kay ang mga tawo nidumili sa pagtoo kaniya bisan sa mga milagro nga iyang gihimo sa ilang atubangan. Ang katilingban, o bisan ang pamilya, nga walay pagtoo sa Dios mapuno gayod sa kadautan sama sa pagkalaog, pagkasina, pagdumot, panag-away ug uban pa. Ning Kwaresma, atong pangayoon sa Ginoo ang grasya nga makakita kita sa Iyang presensya diha sa mga tawo, mga binuhat ug mga panghitabo sa atong kinabuhi. Ang Iyang talagsaong gugma magdani unta kanato sa pagbiya sa sala ug sa pagpuyo sa kinabuhing Kristohanon (Fr. Abet


WEDNESDAY OF THE 1ST WEEK OF LENT (YEAR B) – LUKAS 11:29-32. Unsa man ang makapangil-ad sa usa ka katilingban? Diha sa ebanghelyo si Hesus nakatuwaw sa pag-ingon, “Pagkadautan gayod sa katawhan niining panahona!” Nabungat niya kini tungod kay ang mga tawo nidumili sa pagtoo kaniya bisan sa mga milagro ug maayong buhat nga nag-uban sa iyang pagsangyaw. Ang katilingban, o bisan ang pamilya, nga dili moila o dili maminaw sa Dios mapuno gayod sa kadautan. Maghari kanila ang kalaog, kasina, pagdumot, panag-away ug uban pa. Ning Kwaresma, atong pangayoon sa Dios ang grasya nga makakita o mabati nato ang iyang presensya diha sa atong taliwala, ug diha sa mga panghitabo sa atong kinabuhi. Ang iyang talagsaong gugma magdani unta kanato sa pagbiya sa sala ug sa pagsugod og lakaw sa dalan sa katarong. Posted by Abet Uy


Reflection: Sign of God’s love in our life

Let us focus our reflection on the biblical verse, “It seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,” (v. 29). Why did those people want a sign from Jesus? First, they want proof from Jesus that He was truly the promised Saviour. They needed assurance that He was really the Son of God. They wanted to be sure about Jesus. But, this only proved that they were lacking in faith. They were full of doubt regarding the identity of Jesus. Thus, they could not accept Jesus whoever He is. And Jesus did not heed their request to satisfy their personal curiosity.

What we need is faith. With faith, there is no need for a sign before we place our trust in Him. Are we going to wait for a sign before we accept Him in our life? He himself is more than a sign. What we are now and what we have in this life are already His signs. They are signs that we are loved, being taken care of and saved by Him. They are signs he is merciful and compassionate God in our life. The Gospel says, “There is something greater than Jonah here,” (v. 32). With our love of God, no signs are necessary to believe in Him.

Second, it is to test Jesus. it is to blackmail him. What they wanted was to see spectacular deeds. They were tempting Jesus to do something extraordinary in order to win a following. How about us? What is our motive? We follow Jesus not because of something spectacular but because we love him. We are attracted to Jesus not because of his powerful deeds but because of his very personality. Do we need to demand signs from him? Jesus manifests clearly signs that he loves so much not by sensational works or bold speeches but by his willingness to die on the cross for our sake.

There are always and surely countless signs of God’s love in our life. Now, try to recall them.

Story: There is a well-known anecdote in the life of St. John Vianney, patron saint of the priests. He is also called the Curé of Ars. St. John Vianney was very simple, holy and humble pastor. He spent much of his pastoral ministry in the confessional box. A farmer was asked to describe him.

The farmer gave this testimony of St. Vianney by simply saying: “I saw God in him.”

Challenges: What are the signs in my life that I am very much love by God? What are the visible proofs in my life that I am very special to God? Did I show my gratitude to Him? Did I value those signs of God’s love? What have been my responses to Him so far?

How can I be a sign of God’s love to others? What must I do to make people realize that they are very special to God, too? (Msgr. Ruperto C. Santos STL, Jesus Serves and Saves Us!, Makati: St. Pauls, 2003:41-42).


Reflection: Perhaps it’s already human nature for us to ask for signs from Jesus before we act on something. For example, a lady would normally ask Jesus for a sign if the man courting her is the right one for her. And based on the sign she now would decide to say yes or no to the man.

Jesus is much bigger than the signs that we ask for from God. If we have Him in our hearts we need not ask anymore signs from God for He is with us already. However, Jesus has a simple request for all of us for Him to dwell in our hearts. The simple request is our repentance from all of our sins. This is His simple request for all of us, so that He could dwell in our hearts.

During the time of Jonah the people of Nineveh listened to Jonah’s call of repentance. Otherwise there would be destruction upon them. So they listened, they’ve put on sackcloth to show God that they are now walking away from their sins.

What are we willing to do this Lent to show Jesus that we are also repentant of our many sins? Would we be willing to submit ourselves to the healing Sacrament of Reconciliation? Would we be willing to say, I’m sorry to those whom we have offended? (Marino J. Dasmarinas)


February 20, 2013

St. Amata

Wednesday of the First Week of Lent

VIOLETJon 3:1-10

Ps 51

Lk 11:29-32 Lk 11:29-32

The Demand for a Sign

29While still more people gathered in the crowd, [Jesus] said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. 30Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. 32At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.”

REFLECTION: Something greater than Solomon and Jonah. This refers to none other than Jesus himself. And as Jesus was present in the midst of the people then calling for repentance, so he is present in our midst today still urging us to repent. It is not only the catechists, the lay preachers, the priests, the bishops, and the Pope who call to us. Through them it is the Lord himself who speaks. And Jesus has still another vicar or representative, this one closer to us than any external preacher—our conscience.

Today, when we hear the voice of the Lord speaking to us through his spokespersons, let us harden not our hearts. A beautiful life awaits us when we open our hearts to the Lord.


YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES – Because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.” – Luke 11:32

Because I’m used to “Filipino time,” I always cut it close when I go to work. Unfortunately, my new job requires me to clock in a few minutes before my time so that I can replace a workmate on time. It gives the person I work with a chance to have her own break.

So it wasn’t surprising when my manager called me aside and asked me to come in earlier. From that time on, I’ve tried to do so, even if it meant foregoing breakfast and my other usual preparations. That experience taught me to value being on time more seriously, which is a sign of respect for people here in New Zealand.

The chance for conversion comes to us through the people and circumstances of our everyday life. The question is, will we heed God’s instrument, or do we wait for a “bigger” or more painful messenger?

Listen through your circumstances. It might be asking you to change something about your ways. Joyce Sosoban-Roa (

Pope Francis Says: “Although the life of a person is in a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.”

Dearest Jesus, soften my heart and enable me to change when You tell me so. Amen.


February 17, 2016

REFLECTION: Today’s two readings both emphasize the need for repentance. And the time of Lent is a time when we should examine our lives and try to make them better lives by eliminating whatever sinful habits may have crept into them without our being too much aware of it.

Now for some people it is easy to put a name on their most glaring fai­lures: adulterous relationship, mean gossip, drunken sprees, drugs, slandering talk, etc. Their work is all cut out for them, if they seriously want to repent and reform their lives.
But for many good Christians, who try hard to please God in all things, it is a real challenge to find something to repent about—or so they honestly think. Well, here maybe we could mention a very common sin and one which is hardly ever confessed or repented. What is that common sin? It is the sin of ingratitude. We are all constantly showered by God with countless gifts (our five senses to start with, our family and friends, the Christian faith, etc.) and we hardly ever remember to say: THANK YOU, LORD! Let us change all that during this Lent.


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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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