Today’s reflection is based on the Gospel in the Liturgy of the Word at Mass
Jesus is THE SIGN. My friends, today’s Gospel calls us all to know and trust THE SIGN and not to spend our lives looking for other signs. If we spend our time looking for other signs, miracles, asking that the Lord reveal Himself in other ways we will miss THE SIGN which was already given, and miss spending our lives following the sign, satisfied, fulfilled, satiated, content. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life, the Bread of Life, Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We mustn’t go looking for more, because in doing so we miss what we have and we miss understanding that what is given is in fact everything.
One of the greatest “habits”, a technique really my spiritual director taught me was to always begin my day in gratitude to God for the gifts He has given me (life, faith, my vocation, my ministry, the people in my life) and the gifts of the day/moment as well. Always in that spirit of gratitude, even my own temptation to be negative, ungrateful, cynical, pessimistic or downcast can’t go too far. Gratitude for the big things and the “little things” (the constant ‘God’ moments of the day) helps us not to have to go seeking the ‘signs’ because the signs are all around us, and constant gratitude helps us to always be aware of it. The scribes and Pharisees ask for signs because they can’t be grateful for what God’s given (in Christ Jesus) and are always looking for more.
We can be tempted to write them off as the faithless, not like ourselves; at least we have faith. That would be wrong, that would be us “missing the sign” that we are called to gratitude for everything we have and what more we are given in every moment of every day. Even in our struggles. In the midst of the storms of our life, like the Disciples on the boat on the rough Sea of Galilee; they look for a sign from God that He is with them, and Jesus is only feet away – the Sign is there, and they miss it for their fear. Jesus calmed the sea that day because of their fear and lacking in faith, but having visited many sick people in hospitals, nursing homes and hospices; there is strength of faith there that gives me resolve to go deeper in my (right now) comfortable life so I’m ready when life gets harder and I am tested in greater ways.
I also think of the profound “sign” I was blessed to have witnessed in my dear friend and mentor, Fr. Paschal, a very good and holy Franciscan priest who helped me to discern priesthood and become a better man and Christian. I was with Fr. Paschal as he was dying and fading from this life. He was ready to go, and at 86 years of life told me many times he was ready to meet the Lord, excited in fact for this was what his life was about. In pain and when the end was near, unable to do what he wanted to do, he whispered to me in his hospital bed “help me make the sign of the Cross”. Ten minutes later he was in a coma and died several hours later. The Sign was his life, and it has never left me that Fr. Paschal knew the Sign, as he drew close to that sign in his final hour.
Friends, it’s important for us all to trust in the Sign. This is the essence of our faith, this is essential to our life lived well. I shared with you a couple of my own thoughts today, but surely you have other reflections in your own life you might meditate on. For today, let’s give thanks to the Lord for He is Good and His love (as a Sign) for us never ends and may we see the Sign of His love in everything we do this day. May God bless you.