Daily Reading & Meditation

Monday (February 16):  "No sign shall be given to this generation"

Scripture:  Mark 8:11-13

11 The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven, to test him. 12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, "Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation." 13 And he left them, and getting into the boat again he departed to the other side.

Meditation: Are you good at reading signs? Signs tell us what is coming ahead. The people of Jesus' time expected that the coming of the Messiah would be accompanied by extraordinary signs and wonders. The religious leaders tested Jesus to see if he had a genuine sign from heaven to back his Messianic claims. False messiahs in the past had made extraordinary claims to attract their followers, such as claiming that they could cleave the Jordan River in two or cause the walls of Jerusalem to fall. Jesus knew the hearts of those who came to test him. They were more interested in seeing signs and supernatural phenomena than they were in hearing the word of God. Simeon had prophesied at Jesus' birth that he was "destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that inner thoughts of many will be revealed" (Luke 2:34-35). Jesus gave them no sign except himself and the ultimate proof of his divinity when he rose from the dead.

The Lord reveals himself and makes his presence known to us in many ways - in his word and in the "breaking of the bread" in the Eucharist, in his church - the body of Christ, in his creation, and even in the everyday circumstances of our lives. If we seek the Lord, we will surely find him. And we can be confident that he will give us whatever we need to understand and carry out his will. Most of all the Lord assures us of his daily presence and the promise that he will never leave us. Theresa of Avila's prayer book contained a bookmark which she wrote: Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you; All things pass: God never changes.  Patience achieves all it strives for. Whoever has God lacks nothing, God alone suffices. Is God enough for you?

"Lord Jesus, may I always recognize your saving presence in my life and never forget your promises when I encounter trials and difficulties. Give me a faith that never wavers, a hope that never fades, and a love that never grows cold."

Psalm 119:67-68, 71-72, 75-76

67 Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now I keep your word.
68 You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.
71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
72 The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
75 I know, O LORD, that your judgments are right, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
76 Let your steadfast love be ready to comfort me according to your promise to your servant.

Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Why does this generation seek a sign, by John Chrysostom (347-407 AD)

"But for what sign from heaven were they asking? Maybe that he should hold back the sun, or curb the moon, or bring down thunderbolts, or change the direction of the wind, or something like that?... In Pharaoh's time there was an enemy from whom deliverance was needed (Exodus 3-15). But for one who comes among friends, there should be no need of such signs." (excerpt from GOSPEL OF ST. MATTHEW, HOMILY 53.3)

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author Don Schwager 2015 Servants of the Word

Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers.  

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