Today's Gospel in Art - The only sign it will be given is the sign of the prophet Jonah

  • Patrick van der Vorst

Jonah and the Whale, old city of Akko, Israel, probably by Ilana Goor © Courtesy Bob Lynn

Jonah and the Whale, old city of Akko, Israel, probably by Ilana Goor © Courtesy Bob Lynn

Gospel of 20th July 2020 - Matthew 12:38-42

Some of the scribes and Pharisees spoke up. 'Master,' they said 'we should like to see a sign from you.'

He replied, 'It is an evil and unfaithful generation that asks for a sign! The only sign it will be given is the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was in the belly of the sea-monster for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. On Judgement day the men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation and condemn it, because when Jonah preached they repented; and there is something greater than Jonah here. On Judgement day the Queen of the South will rise up with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.'

Reflection on the Public Sculpture

This simple, yet very effective sculpture allows children to sit inside the belly of the whale… experiencing to some extent how Jonah might have felt inside the whale.

The Scribes and Pharisees are looking for a divine sign from Jesus. Nothing has changed much, as even nowadays in this sophisticated world we live in, people look for external signs. We even pray for these signs. The problem is that asking for signs feels like a way to do away with the need for personal decision making. 'If I get a clear sign, then I will do this…'. But how often do we get a clear sign? Rarely. The building of one's faith is based on a continuous commitment of friendship with Christ and love for those around us. We will find the answers in there, not in asking for a big 'external sign'.

Jesus is telling us in our reading today that He has only one sign to give us: Himself after the Resurrection. Jesus draws a parallel with Jonah, whose preaching led the people of Nineveh to change their lives. That is what Jesus did too: bringing us the Good News, so that we may change our ways too. Placing our faith simply and humbly in Him, is what He is calling us to do; not being reliant on asking for signs.

LINKS

Today's story - https://christian.art/en/daily-gospel-reading/488

Christian Art - www.christian.art


Tags: Christian Art, Patrick van der Vorst, Jonah, Whale, Ilana Goor

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