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Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Rom. 1:1-7 & Lk. 11:29-32

Today we begin reading Saint Paul’s epistle to the Romans in which he claims to be favoured with being an apostle to preach the Good News to the Gentiles. Paul knew that the Gospel was never intended for the Jewish people alone. The Good News is about the Son of God who took to Himself our human nature as a descendant of David.

Would it not have been easier for Jesus to give in to the people's demand for a "sign" since He could have performed some amazing feat to display His divinity and silence His opposition? Instead, in today's Gospel, Jesus rebuked the crowd with harsh comparisons. "The men of Nineveh will arise at the judgement with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.”

If only the people could have seen Jesus with eyes of faith! Then they would have known the joy of witnessing the very sign they wanted. For the sign of Jonah was none other than Jesus Himself. Like Jonah, He preached repentance from sin, calling God's people to reform their lives and welcome the inauguration of the kingdom of God. Through Jonah, God revealed His mercy to Nineveh, just as Jesus unveiled His Father's endless mercy to everyone who came to Him in humility and repentance. Through His parables of redemption and restoration, Jesus taught us all about the prodigious love of His Father; and He lived His message of mercy every time He sat down at table with tax collectors and sinners, and mixed among lepers and Samaritans.

It is worth noting that Jesus did perform many miraculous works for the people to see. His signs, however, were not awesome works of magic but demonstrations of His Father's compassion for the suffering and needy, His desire to save us from sin and death. Nevertheless, Jesus was rejected by so many, and still is, precisely because He refused to reduce His ministry to one of working magic tricks.

Jesus was a new Jonah and much more, for He was swallowed by death itself, yet He emerged victorious three days later as the ultimate sign of God's presence and power among us. Now He beckons people in every age to accept the sign of His Cross and come to Him. Only then will the mighty works of God's Spirit be released from within the soul and move outward, transforming each of us into another sign of God's action on Earth.

Lord Jesus, You are the sign guiding us to the Father. Transform us by Your Spirit to become Your people, recipients of Your love and mercy.

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