Grace to you!
Come and see who has told me everything about me." This invitation from the woman at the well (Jn 4) preceded an action to go and see.
Probably, you know the story of John the Baptist on the mountain. Mark 1 records all Judea trooped to the Jordan to be baptized by John. They were fascinated by the "signs."
Generally, people are thrilled by signs. Those involved with evangelization would agree that the craving for signs is the easiest way for a speaking engagement to be sold out.
"Signs," miracles, healings, deliverance have a claim. They facilitate faith. Unfortunately, the Blessed Lord Jesus makes a bolder statement. "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign" (Matthew 12:39).
Recall the Lord did more signs and wonders in the entire Bible. Signs were one of the pointers to the Messiah per Old Testament prophecies. Yet, he shocks his listeners with his rebuff of faith anchored on signs and wonders. If that applies to those who were not believers in Jesus as the Messiah, how about believers? Don't you think it carries even a heavier weight?
Ponder on that statement for a while. Don't suppose the "adulterous" in the text means those unfaithful in their marriage relationships. Instead, it is a figurative language descriptive of the relationship between God and God's people. Our relationship with God is often described in Scripture as a marriage relationship. One of the best New Testament metaphors was the book of Revelation's "marriage of the Lamb" (Rev 19:6-9). Also was Saint Paul's hints about Christ and the Church being his bride (Eph 5:21-27).
Thus, when the Blessed Lord says, "it's an adulterous generation that seeks a sign before they believe," one has to take it seriously. It is essential to see how tricky and damaging the crave for signs could be. A faith that is based on signs and wonders is prone to "adultery," that is, unfaithfulness. Such faith is built on the premise of "God" that must serve our needs, a god in humanity's image. In theology, it is regarded as an "anthropomorphic god." It's a religious experience built of the god of our own making.
True faith is in a relationship with the true God, who though is close to us, is also transcendent. It isn't a relationship built upon signs and wonders. Without the essential element of the otherness beyond our human control, our faith would become utterly human work. After all, the theological virtue of faith is that we believe, not because we have seen practical results, but because God is true. Such faith is secure. It is not dependent on which pastors do more miracles than others. When people move from one pastor to another, one religion to another depending on who performs more signs, they need proper prayerful self-examination. True faith is not magic.
For one not to slide in the alluring slope of spiritual infidelity, we need a more secure faith. It is the kind rooted in pure love with God, not for the wonders of God's hands, but simply because God is love who has poured his love in our hearts, revealing himself to us in Christ.
I want a stable faith; faith built on solid rock. It endures. What about you?
Would you please pray with me, Lord, pour your love in my heart and make my faith in you secure. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Monday, Week 16, Ordinary Time: Micah 6:1-4, 6-8; Matthew 12:38-42]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.