In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the crowd, “This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.”
Jesus is talking about Jonah (he of the belly of the whale) whose ministry is filled with precursors of the coming of Christ, not the least of which is Jonah’s three days of darkness in the belly of the whale. Does this sound familiar?
The “sign” of Jonah, though, is somewhat different. In his day Jonah prophesied that if the people did not repent, Ninevah would be destroyed. The Ninevites repented and were saved.
The sign that Jesus is referring to is a warning to the Jews of his time to accept the Gospel, or the Gospel will become the possession of others (the Gentiles). His warning was unheeded and Christianity became for most people the religious belief of the Gentiles.
Should we wonder whether our world’s diminishment of faith is subject to a new sign of Jonah, where we either repent and return to the Gospel, or it will be taken from us as it was taken from Israel?