Monday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Witnesses to the joy
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” He said to them in reply, “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. At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here. At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here. Mt 12,38-42
The sign of Jonah, Jesus explain to us, is the sign of his resurrection from the death. Jesus answers to the scribes and pharisees who ask for a sign to become believers that he will not give them no other sign except that of Jonah. To Thomas, to the purpose that he may believe in the resurrection, it will be allowed to put his finger in the holes of the nails and to touch the side where the spear of the Roman soldier had penetrated. Two thousand years later, what sign is given to us to believe that Jesus of Nazareth is truly resurrected, that he is the Son of God and God himself? We too need the sign of Jonah to believe, and it is not enough the testimony of Peter which is handed over by the church, nor the fact that Thomas has touched with his hands the wounds of the resurrected Jesus is sufficient. We too need to see and touch to believe in the resurrection. Is it possible on the nowdays time to have the same experience of the first disciples? It would not seem possible, but it is. We too are granted to experience the resurrection, in an indirect way, but in some ways even more secure than that of Peter and Thomas. The fact which at first makes us suspicious and afterwords definitely convinces us, is the “joy”. Since two thousand years the joy of the resurrection propagates as a wave in the world history, lifted and blown by the wind of the Holy Spirit. And it is not a small wave, a slight ripple of the sea under the light mistral of September, it is a majestic and powerful wave which is formed by the south-west wind of the Holy Spirit; that wind which we listen in our house of Castiglioncello howling from the bottom of the street, which sweeps the beach and ruffles the trees of the pine forest. In a world where sadness, melancholy, boredom and depression reign, we see the joy only in the faces of the children and of the people of faith. Also the Providence, the healings and the miracles are not a so irrefutable evidence as the “joy”. And it is a so overflowing joy that, once having reached the faith in Jesus Christ, it also fills us and we become witnesses of the joy. It is not, as it has been foolishly written, the artificial joy of the “opium of the nations”. It is a genuine sentiment, contagious such that, as it has happened to st. Paul, it makes us abound of joy also in the sufferings.