“…there is something greater than Solomon here.” -Luke 11:31
I have babysat in my neighborhood back home for all of my teenage years, and I have accumulated many stories, both humorous and touching. Children, in their simple and loving way, can always make me think. A couple years ago, I was babysitting for a 5-year old boy. He had just come home from a religious education class, and he was talking to me about what he learned and asking me questions about Jesus’ life. I was explaining to him that Jesus lived around 2000 years ago when he interrupted me and said, “Sara, that’s not true. Jesus is here now!” I felt like he had slapped me across the face! That day, I was quickly reminded of what faith should be all about. We all need these reminders every so often; it’s so easy to become caught up in the facts and the “to-do list” of life, and often we are blinded from the signs of Jesus all around.
When I first read today’s Gospel reading, I was taken aback by Jesus’ statement: “this generation is an evil generation.” I found myself thinking, “Oh, Jesus wouldn’t really say that!” Today’s reading really hurt my pride! Although many of us, myself included, prefer to think of Jesus as ever-forgiving and loving, today’s Gospel challenges us to more and calls us to question the lives that we lead. Jesus was all about love, but, despite popular belief, love isn’t always easy. Likewise, living out our faith requires effort and can be full of challenges.
The people that Jesus is preaching to are searching for a sign of his goodness. They are so busy searching for this sign that they are ignoring what is right in front of them. Jesus points out that even the best signs in history do not measure up to his very presence. The more I thought about today’s reading, the more I wondered about the many distractions that I succumb to each day. How often do we search for signs in our own lives rather than being present to what is around us? Are we sometimes more focused on “acting religious” rather than actually living the faith? Do we sometimes simply go through the motions without even thinking? These questions, like today’s reading, are hard to hear and even harder to answer. They bring about a lot of discomfort, but discomfort is often a sign of growth. As one of my favorite quotes states, “a ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for” (William G. Shedd). We are called and challenged to live radical lives; Jesus is present all around us, and he calls us to one another each and every day. We need to face the discomfort and the challenge of faith by opening our ears, eyes, minds, and hearts.