“The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven, to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, ‘Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.’ And he left them, and getting into the boat again he departed to the other side.” (Mk 8: 11-13)

Was there any lack of “signs from heaven” at that time, when the ultimate Sign From Heaven, our Lord Jesus Christ, was on His earthly mission? No. But the Pharisees had lost the ability to “see God” and His “signs,” because they were not “pure in heart” (Mt 5: 8). They were not open to God’s surprises, but stuck in their own ideas about “signs,” based on the “signs from heaven” that God had revealed to their ancestors, like manna from heaven (Ex 16) and the rainbow (Gen 9: 16). Their blindness reminds me somewhat of “My Little Town,” as Simon and Garfunkel observe in that beautiful song: “And after it rains there’s a rainbow / And all of the colors are black / It’s not that the colors aren’t there / It’s just imagination they lack / Everything’s the same back / In my little town…”

Today, as my Church celebrates the feast of the Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign” (see the picture attached to this reflection), I want to say: Thank You, God, for continuously sending us Your beautiful “signs,” in the holy images, and also in the people, places and things that surround us. “But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” (Mt 13: 16-17)

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