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‘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.” Matthew: 12:39
Wouldn’t it be such a relief if we were given a sign that made everything obvious, black and white? We would not have to make a decision; there would be no need for faith; all would be under our control. But the reality is that there is mystery at the heart of everything, and try as we may, we will never resolve it. We have to make a decision regarding its meaning, and that decision requires some personal commitment.
That’s the sign of Jonah: repent. In the midst of mystery and not-knowing, change your mind and heart, and make the Other more important than yourself. Surrender, and love not knowing; give of yourself to life as it is, and trust.
The sign of Jonah is so beautifully described by the prophet Micah:
This is what the Lord asks of you:
only this, to act justly,
to love tenderly
and to walk humbly with your God.
Act justly: do not judge at all; if you do, you will be unjust in your judgement.
Love tenderly: what is in your heart? Motivation is everything.
Walk humbly with your God: you have nothing that you haven’t been given.
Monsignor James MacNeil, St Columba’s Cathedral, Oban