Memory of the Poor

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 11, 29-32

The crowds got even bigger and he addressed them, 'This is an evil generation; it is asking for a sign. The only sign it will be given is the sign of Jonah.

For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of man be a sign to this generation.

On Judgement Day the Queen of the South will stand up against the people of this generation and be their condemnation, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, look, there is something greater than Solomon here.

On Judgement Day the men of Nineveh will appear against this generation and be its condemnation, because when Jonah preached they repented; and, look, there is something greater than Jonah here.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

It is an old temptation to ask God for signs, even if just to stir him from what sometimes seems to us to be silence or indifference or to have some confirmation of his presence. Asking God for a miracle or sign is not contrary to the logic of the Gospel. Jesus teaches us to ask for “good gifts” in prayer. But faith, as Jesus affirms in today’s Gospel passage, does not depend on the kinds of wonders we would like to see. It is enough to remember that Jesus had already miraculously healed several people and performed other signs that pointed to the arrival of a new Kingdom, and yet most of the people still did not believe. In general, faith does not come after wondrous signs; if anything, faith is required for miracles to occur. There are still many people today who are looking for wondrous signs to nourish their faith. And when something extraordinary happens, many people rush to see it. And if these “signs” occur, they are certainly gifts from the Lord. But we must pay more attention than we normally do to the “sign” of signs, which the Lord has given to all, the “sign of Jonah.” The early community read these words in light of the Resurrection: “For just as Jonah was for three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth.” (Mt 12:40). The “sign” of Jonah is therefore the proclamation of the central message of the Gospel, that is, the mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Just as the inhabitants of Nineveh converted after hearing the preaching of Jonah, even though he did not perform any miracles, so too must people convert today, with the only difference being that someone “greater than Jonah” has come. We must communicate the resurrection of Jesus to the world; we must proclaim that good has triumphed over evil, life over death, and love over hatred. This proclamation is the heart of Jesus’ story: he came to the earth to give his life to the point of dying on the cross for our salvation, and the Father raised him from the dead. This Gospel (good news) is much more valuable than the wisdom of Solomon and much stronger than the preaching of Jonah. Yes, “something greater than Jonah is here”, the Gospel repeats to us today. This “sign” should not remain hidden among closed-in, esoteric groups. It must shine on people of every nation and every age. Christians - from the greatest to the least, with no exceptions - are called to be the lamp-stands of this good news. But how many times have we instead put this good news “under a bushel basket” out of laziness? How many times have we let ourselves be overcome by the obsession with self that saps the strength of the Gospel? The tasks Jesus entrusted to his disciples and his Church are essential for the salvation of humanity. We need to simultaneously be aware and humble witnesses of this fact.