First Reading: Jas 1:1-11
Psalm: Ps 119:67, 68, 71, 72, 75, 76
Gospel: Mk 8:11-13
In Jesus’ day in Palestine there was a noticeable tendency among the
people to look for God in the extraordinary. The people believed
that the advent of the Messiah would be accompanied by startling
happenings in the heavens and on the earth. When false messiahs
arose, they lured the people by promising astonishing signs.
This was the sort of sign that the Pharisees were demanding of
Jesus. Jesus clearly and forcefully refused to give such a sign to
the Pharisees: “I assure you, no such sign shall be given to this
Why did Jesus refuse to give a sign? The Gospel doesn’t provide a
clear answer. However, there does seem to be a note of annoyance
and even anger in Jesus’ refusal. His immediate departure from the
place can also be interpreted as an expression of his disgust with
the Pharisees. Furthermore, this line of reasoning is supported by
Jesus’ conviction that the Pharisees were blinding themselves to the
truth that he spoke, and that their self-imposed blindness was the
cause of their lack of faith.
Undoubtedly, Jesus saw the demand for a sign as an expression of
their lack of faith, a refusal to see the hand of God at work in the
ordinariness of the world and in the less startling signs that he
had been offering them through the power of his preaching and of his
Today, we too suffer from this same lack of faith. We fail to see
the hand of the Lord in the ordinary. We fail to listen to the
voice within us, the voice of God who dwells within us. If only we
could teach ourselves to listen clearly as the Lord within us speaks
to us! Hearing him would be the daily miracle that all of us now
long for, the only sign we would ever need.
We need not look for God in the extraordinary, in dancing suns and
days of darkness. His footsteps are all about us. We have only to
open our eyes and see.