After mysteriously exalting the Virgin Mary and the blessedness of those who hear and do God’s will, Christ offers a prophetic proclamation of His divinity. Great crowds surround Him and He perceives that they are seeking a “sign”; they fail to see the most Perfect Sign, Jesus Christ, is standing before them.

Christ blasts the crowd’s worldly curiosity, calling them an “evil and adulterous generation” (Greek). This is a stunning and violent rebuke; it judges the crowd to be as bad as the faithless Jews who were excluded from the Promised Land by God (Deut 1:35; 32:5; 29:1-3).

Continuing to refer to Scripture, Christ now makes astounding claims about Himself and His enemies. He reveals that He is the Son of Man (the promised Messiah) and that He is greater than the great prophet Jonah; cryptically, Christ reveals that He will be entombed for 3 days/nights in the earth, like Jonah was entombed in the whale. Referring to Israel’s second greatest king, Solomon, Christ claims to be greater. Christ greatly insults the Jews by revealing that the pagan men of Nivea and the pagan queen of the South, would condemn them.

1) Marvel at how Christ draws on ancient history (some 1000 years previously) from the Old Testament (which He inspired to be written) and how He surpasses all human expectations of greatness.

2) Seeking signs, many men drift away from Catholicism and put their faith in false “gods”; superstition, idolatry, false religions, mammon, technology, occult, nations, secular causes, politics, atheism or agnosticism. During Lent, refresh your understanding of the sins against the 1st Commandment (CCC 2110-2132) and pray for Christ to protect you from doubt and to use you to draw many to Him.

3) Christ’s revelation that “no sign shall be given…except the sign of Jonah” is an exhortation for men to be convinced by His Resurrection. As your Lenten pilgrimage proceeds towards Easter, renew your understanding of the Resurrection (CCC 638-658) and pray for Christ to help your faith to continue to grow.