There are many rabbinical stories dealing with signs, instances in which some of the great rabbis were asked for signs to corroborate their teaching.  These stories often include accounts of incredible events:  water turning into blood, water flowing backward in its channel, a tree moving a great distance at a rabbi’s command.

It was characteristic of the Jewish people of that time to ask for signs and wonders from those who claimed to be messengers of God. That stemmed from a more fundamental attitude of the ancient Israelites.  For them God’s existence meant his presence among them.  When by means of some marvelous intervention through Moses or one of the prophets God manifested his powerful presence their faith response was strong. When God did not manifest his presence in that way they rather quickly fell into idolatry. They seemed to be a people very much dependent on signs and wonders.

When the Scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign his response was very blunt.  He said: “An evil and unfaithful age is eager for a sign.”  He told them they already had signs greater than the sign of Jonah of the wisdom of Solomon.  (Mt. 12: 38-42)

The people Jesus addressed were guilty of a fundamental mistake.  They were looking for God in the unusual, the sensational.  They failed to realize that God never shows himself so much and so continually as in the ordinary things of everyday life.

Not being able to see signs of God in everyday life was not limited to the Scribes and Pharisees.  We are all subject to making the same mistake. There are times when we very much want a special sign in our life.  Those are times of challenge to our faith.  Faith is easy when things are going well, when we feel we have some concrete experience of God’s presence and of his loving care.  It is quite different when we feel dry, discouraged and abandoned.  Then we want to cry out for a sign.  We say: “Lord, show me you are still with me, that you really care.

In our daily lives we constantly interpret signs.  Much of it so routine we don’t think about the fact that that is what we are doing.  We need to become more conscious of the fact that there signs of God all around us.  We need to pray for the eyes of faith to see those sings more clearly and for the grace to open our minds and harts more fully to God coming into our lives.