No New Answers

First Reading: Galatians 4:22-24, 26-27, 31–5:1

Brothers and sisters:
It is written that Abraham had two sons,
one by the slave woman and the other by the freeborn woman.
The son of the slave woman was born naturally,
the son of the freeborn through a promise.
Now this is an allegory.
These women represent two covenants.
One was from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery;
this is Hagar.
But the Jerusalem above is freeborn, and she is our mother.
For it is written:
Rejoice, you barren one who bore no children;
break forth and shout, you who were not in labor;
for more numerous are the children of the deserted one
than of her who has a husband.
Therefore, brothers and sisters,
we are children not of the slave woman
but of the freeborn woman.

For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm
and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 113:1B-2, 3-4, 5A AND 6-7

R. (see 2) Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.
Praise, you servants of the LORD,
praise the name of the LORD.
Blessed be the name of the LORD
both now and forever.
R. Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.
From the rising to the setting of the sun
is the name of the LORD to be praised.
High above all nations is the LORD;
above the heavens is his glory.
R. Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.
Who is like the LORD, our God,
who looks upon the heavens and the earth below?
He raises up the lowly from the dust;
from the dunghill he lifts up the poor.
R. Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.

Gospel: Luke 11:29-32

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
“This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
At the judgment
the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here.
At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it,
because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here.”



There have been times in my life when I’ve wanted signs. When I prayed for weeks and months concerning school choices, while I discerned my vocation, where I earnestly sought God’s will. But I’ve also wanted signs when I was in difficult circumstances and the signs I wanted painted in bold, neon lettering went something like, “Don’t worry about this choice, do what feels good! All that stuff the Church teaches (about sexuality, what practicing the faith entails, politics, how we treat other people) doesn’t apply to you!” I wanted a sign that spoke only to me, that gave me secret information which let me off the hook of following Church teaching.

I’m reminded of this temptation when reading today’s Gospel. I think this human desire to get around God’s law, Church teachings, and surrendering in obedience to God’s will is similar to what Jesus is talking about in this passage. Jesus is talking to people who want a big sign, something that makes it impossible to walk away from what God wants, something that makes faith unnecessary, but at the same time I feel like they want a different sign than the repentance Jonah once preached to the people of Ninevah.

We want new signs for our times. We want to reinvent the spiritual wheel more often than not. It’s hard to realize at times that Christ’s teachings two thousand years ago still apply to us. It’s humbling to acknowledge that the Church has carried Christ’s teachings from the time of His death to now in a seamless, developed, coherent system that speaks to all of us.

If I have a problem, the Church has given me guidance in some way. There are no new problems or new answers. Christ’s signs and promises still stand and are available to us through the Church, a treasure trove of wisdom and insight into how to be human and how to relate to God. But hearing those answers, accepting them into our hearts, and living them are often much harder and time consuming than a new sign from the heavens.

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What problem in our life right now do we wish there was an easy answer to? Ask God to open your heart to His word and love, to give you His wisdom, and the grace and courage to follow His will, no matter what His answer may be.

Christy Isinger is the mom to five lovely, loud children living in the Canadian wilds. You can find out more about her here.

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