The Gospel wants to tell us that we cannot delegate our choices to signs.
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Today’s readings can be found here.
“Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.’”
There’s nothing more human than these scribes’ and Pharisees’ request. In fact, each of us throughout our lives seeks “evidence” to confirm one belief or another. But Jesus seems to challenge this attitude, perhaps because he knows very well that oftentimes behind the search for signs there’s a great temptation to refuse to take responsibility. This means that precisely because we aren’t 100% certain about something, we never fully commit ourselves to it.
We begin reasoning like this: “If I were certain that this woman is exactly the woman of my life then I would marry her, but since I’m not certain, then we can go forward slowly without making any commitment to each other”; or “If I had proof that God really exists, then I would have a regular life of faith, but since I don’t have the incontrovertible proof, I seek God when I feel like it”; or, “If I had a sign that clearly told me what to do then I would do that thing, but it’s always totally ambiguous so I don’t do anything decisive.”
The Gospel wants to tell us that we cannot delegate our choices to signs, and that a sign that removes us from the vertigo of freedom is undesirable, because while it seems to give us certainty, it actually annihilates us as persons. Miracles do not replace our freedom; at most they help it, and not even in all cases.
In fact, how many miracles did Jesus perform in His life? Yet when the hour of the Cross came, no one who had received those miracles was there for him.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.