So What?

February 13, 2008

“…They ask for a sign, but no one sign will be given them except the sign of Jonah…” (Luke 11:30)

A desperate and suicidal man, once looking for a sign from God, decided to do a random cutting of the bible. In faith, he closed his eyes, opened his bible, and pointed his finger on the opened page. His finger landed on the quote: “And Judas hanged himself”. Guess what he did?

Of course, this isn’t a true story. But I had to use this illustration to highlight the problem of too much relying on signs. Sometimes, asking for signs can be very dangerous. More often than not, God wants us to use our normal human ability to discern and make the right choices. Besides, God has given us all the tools that we need to discern properly.

We can follow a bible reading guide and get a spiritual counselor. We can also attach ourselves to a Charismatic community or prayer group so that others can help us discern. We can also read spiritual books on discernment. Lastly, we can pray to the Holy Spirit to guide us make the right choices based on what’s practical and logical.

In today’s Gospel, the people were asking Jesus for a sign to convince them that they should repent. In response, Jesus said the following quote:

“…They ask for a sign, but no one sign will be given them except the sign of Jonah…” (Luke 11:30)

What could be the sign of Jonah?

Even theologians have no one single answer. But I read one interpretation which I think I subscribe to.

Jonah was best known to have spent three days in the belly of the whale. Jesus, on the other hand, was dead for three days before he rose again. Therefore, the only sign that would be given them was the overwhelming resurrection episode. In a sense, Christ’s death and resurrection should be enough to make them appreciate the extent of God’s love for them — enough to bring them to repentance. Unfortunately, not even the sign of the cross and the empty tomb could bring those people to repentance.

You know what? Nothing much has changed today.

The other night, I had a conversation with one of my mentors, Bro. Raoul Roncal, theology professor in Ateneo and national director of Christ’s Youth in Action. And he told me that the young people today still believes in God. But they have a difficulty making that God personal to them. They often say, “Sure God exists. So what?”

“So what?”— Two words which can very well describe the way people see God today. That He exists and there is nothing more to that. What happened to the cross and empty tomb? Forgotten. Disregarded. Made irrelevant.

And many of them would wait for a sign before they turn to God. Perhaps a tragic or dramatic moment in their lives will do that. But unless those “signs” come, the cross and the empty tomb won’t be enough.

How about you, dear friend? Have you fully responded to the ultimate sign of incredible love:the cross and the empty tomb? Or are you still waiting for that life-changing spectacular and dramatic once in a lifetime moment that would change your life forever?

Friend, just ponder on the cross and the empty tomb. Imagine the lengths God would go just to bring you home. Suffering. Torture. Crucifixion. Death. A stop-over in hell. All these just to insure your salvation. Just to make sure you get to heaven one day.

After really understanding and internalizing all those signs of great love from God, I hope no one would dare say: So what?

Because for one who is love this much, there can be no better sign than that.

I remain, your friend in Christ,

Bobby Q.

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