July 19, 2021
by Angela Maynard
Creighton University's Student Health Education and Compliance Office
click here for photo and information about the writer

Monday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 395

Exodus 14:5-18
Exodus 15:1bc-2, 3-4, 5-6
Matthew 12:38-42

Praying Ordinary Time

Pope Francis on this gospel in 2017 and 2014.

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Finding Our Way Back Home: Getting Un-Stuck in Prayer Life

In today’s gospel, the pharisees demand a sign from Jesus.  Jesus replied “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.”

This response was troubling to me for a couple of reasons.  First of all, I did not recall that Jonah was in the whale’s belly for three days and three nights.  How did I miss that through all these years?  Clearly that is very powerful because three days and three nights is very significant through the gospels.

The next reason this reading troubled me is because I am a big believer in signs.  I’m always on the lookout for signs that might provide direction when I’m faced with an important decision, or just looking for comfort.  Is that wrong?

As I reflect on today’s readings, I cannot help but think that this is not wrong.  You see, I’m always amazed at the messages sent to me from God, often at just the right time.  They only serve to strengthen my faith.  Please allow me to share just a few recent experiences.

In June we had a family reunion in the Cincinnati area.  The reunion was on my Dad’s side of the family.  My Dad has been in heaven for thirteen years now.  He was the fifth of nine children.  Only three are still living.  We were to gather outside — there were tents, but no other shelter that would accommodate the entire group. 

Several families went to dinner just before the Friday night gathering.  The only space that would accommodate all of us was outdoors.  The host at the restaurant alerted us to the forecast that predicted approaching thunderstorms that were to last for the entire weekend!  We assured the host that we were willing to take the chance and would take the outdoor seating.

As we sat outside catching up, we heard a cardinal.  We looked for the cardinal and spotted him on a power line near our table.  Everybody decided that it was my Dad watching over all of us.  You see, my Dad worked for the local power company for many years.  Ironically, he loved a good thunderstorm.  We were able to finish our meal and head to the gathering place for the evening.  While the rain held off through dinner, as we gathered for the ‘opening ceremonies’ the clouds opened up!  Not only did the predicted thunderstorms arrive, but a tornado was spotted in the area and the sirens sounded.  This close-knit bunch numbering more than 70 huddled in the shelter of my cousin’s house. The storm blew over and we moved back outside where the laughing and story-telling continued. 

What would the rest of the weekend hold?  There was a 60-90% chance of rain predicted for the rest of the weekend! 

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