Have you noticed how every generation has a label? The “civic generation” always put others first. The “baby boomers” are self-centered and too permissive with their children. “Generation X” and “Generation Y” and the “Millenials” get all muddled so that their members aren’t quite sure which profile they are supposed to fit, but the descriptions of all of them are often so negative that no one wants to be called any of them. Each generation can conveniently blame its dysfunction on the shortcomings of the one before.
Who decides what this generation will be?
The labels that describe us tell us who we are and give us reasons for it. This is not a new trend. In today’s Gospel, Jesus describes “this generation” as “an evil generation.” They seek a sign, he says, but they will not get one. They already have the sign of Jonah.
Jonah made it only a third of the way into the city of Nineveh before the entire city repented and fell on its knees before God. Jonah’s message inspired a king to sit in ashes and declare and national period of mourning for his people to beg God’s forgiveness. Jonah’s trip to Nineveh saved its people from extinction.
Jonah was a sign . . . and when the people turned toward Him, God embraced them.
Jesus came, too, as a sign. Jesus taught and preached for three years before giving up His life for all who had come before and all who were still to come. Jesus showed how people could have a relationship with God as a Father. Jesus’ death and resurrection forever defeated the power of sin so that death has no victory any longer.
Jesus was a sign . . . and when the people turned toward Him, God embraced them.
What God wants is never to punish, but to be in relationship with the people He loves.
What is the sign for this generation, who have seen all these other signs already, who have the benefit of all the generations before us? Despite any labels that people might apply to our generations, we are each responsible to answer before God. This is our moment, our opportunity to turn from whatever distracts us or prevents us from being with God. This is our chance to appear before Him with contrite hearts.
What He wants from you is your whole heart. What will your response be?
Abbey Dupuy writes her life as a homeschooling mama of four while relying on coffee and grace. You can find out more about her here.