DAILY GOSPEL COMMENTARY: THE SIGN OF JONAH (Mt 12:38–42).
Gospel of Monday, 16th week in Ordinary Time,
Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” He said to them in reply, “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here. At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.”
Gospel Commentary from the Navarre Bible, Commentary to the Gospel of St. Matthew (with permission).
The sign of Jonah
- 39-40 This sign the Jews were asking for would have been a miracle or some other prodigy; they wanted Jesus, incongruously, to confirm his preaching — given with such simplicity by dramatic signs.
- Our Lord replies by announcing the mystery of his Death and Resurrection, using the parallel of the case of Jonah. “No sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah”: Jesus’ glorious Resurrection is the “sign” par excellence, the decisive proof of the divine character of his person, of his mission and of his teaching.
- 41-42 Nineveh was a city in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) to which the prophet Jonah was sent.
- The Ninevites did penance (Jn 3:6-9) because they recognized the prophet and accepted his message; whereas Jerusalem does not wish to recognize Jesus, of whom Jonah was merely a figure.
- The queen of the South was the queen of Sheba in southwestern Arabia, who visited Solomon (1 Kings 10:1-10) and was in awe of the wisdom with which God had endowed the King of Israel.
- Jesus is also prefigured in Solomon, whom Jewish tradition saw as the epitome of the wise man.
- Jesus’ reproach is accentuated by the example of pagan converts, and gives us a glimpse of the universal scope of Christianity, which will take root among the Gentiles.
- There is a certain irony in what Jesus says about “something greater” than Jonah or Solomon having come: really, he is infinitely greater, but Jesus prefers to tone down the difference between himself and any figure, no matter how important, in the Old Testament.
VIDEO COMMENTARY ON TODAY’S GOSPEL
TOPIC: Do you pray to understand, to accept and to see how God is working in your life?
Oftentimes, it is easy for us to forget the love we receive from others. For instance, we take for granted God’s workings in our lives as a sign of His love. We constantly ask for more proof.
Three points for today:
1. The signs we ask from God may not be as clear as we want them to be
2. God may use the most unlikely avenues as signs for our conversion
3. Prayer fixes the disposition of our hearts to things that happen to us
TOPIC: When life’s troubles move to get you, do you freeze in fear or do you move forward?
In today’s first reading, Moses leads the Hebrews out of Egypt and 400 years of slavery. But the Egyptian army – with all of its 600 chariots carrying soldiers – is in hot pursuit. The Hebrews are cornered on the edge of the Red Sea. They begin to lose hope, certain that death is imminent. They have a change of heart. They now denounce their leader Moses for bringing them into this situation. “Were there no burial places back in Egypt that you had to bring us to this place to die?” They wanted to go back to Egypt, be slaves again, than die a horrible death in the desert. We reflect today on our own disposition when our backs are against the wall, when things do not go as we expect, as we plan them to be, when failure is certain. What do we do?
Stay updated: subscribe by email for free TO OUR NEW WEBSITE www.catholicsstrivingforholiness.org (PUT YOUR EMAIL IN THE SUBSCRIBE WIDGET).
We are also in www.fb.com/Catholicsstrivingforholiness. Kindly help more people in their Christian life by liking our page and inviting your family, friends and relatives to do so as well. Thanks in advance and God bless you and your loved ones! Fr. Rolly Arjonillo