Signs of God
by Fr. Victor Szczurek, O.Praem.
We’ve all heard countless times in our life complaints that go something like, “God is so distant from me…He doesn’t care about me…He never speaks to me…I wish He would just give me at least some small sign to show that He cares about me or to let me know what He wants from me, or some small indication as to where He’s leading me,” and so on. Our Lord responds to such complaints in today’s Gospel: “You hypocrites!…You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time?” Knowing that we are physical beings, God uses physical signs to communicate with us all the time; but all too often we look but do not see, we listen but do not hear.
From the moment He came into this world of ours Our Lord immediately started to make use of signs to tell us what He wants us to know. Long before neon lights were invented, He put His own sign in the sky to announce His “grand opening,” as it were; the Magi were paying attention and so were able to find Him and adore Him. Years later our Lord changed water into wine; His Apostles took notice and so began to believe in Him. Even at His crucifixion there were plenty of signs in the sky and on earth, witnessing to the death of the Creator; a Roman centurion keenly observed what was happening and so confessed, Truly this was the Son of God.
We know that a sign is something which strikes the senses but brings to mind something other than itself. There are all kinds of signs all around us all the time: we smell smoke and we think of a fire; we see dark clouds and we think of a storm; even words are signs. But how often do the signs, which God sends us, never make it pass our senses and into our minds! God has already revealed the truths He wants us to know through Sacred Scripture and Tradition; but His communication with us does not stop there. But it takes the gift of wisdom to perceive what He is trying ever so hard to tell us.
Pardon the analogy, but like a young person in love, Our Lord is constantly showing His love for us with—dare we say—little sweet signs of affection. If we don’t see them, it’s our fault. Something as simple as the rising sun of a new day tells us He still loves us. The aches and pains we have in our back are His gentle way of reminding us, “You’re getting older; are you prepared for a holy death?” Even through the evil done to us by others God communicates to us, helping us call to mind His own Passion and inspiring us to imitate Him in humility. Yes, God uses signs all the time to communicate with us; and it’s not only His message which He sends us through signs, but even His grace and a sharing in His very life: through water, oil, bread and wine, the laying on of hands. The whole sacramental life of the Church is God and man communicating through signs.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom. Like the little child who observes far more than you think, may we keep our ears and eyes fixed intently on God, observing every sign our Heavenly Father sends us, and so receive His truth, His love, and His very life. Amen.
You may have noticed that Jesus very often gives a teaching or tells a parable and then… falls silent. He often doesn’t explain or elaborate when you would expect Him to. He expects His hearers to interpret the silence and draw the right conclusion.
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