Gospel: Mark 8:11-13
The Pharisees came and started to argue with Jesus. Hoping to embarrass him, they asked for some heavenly sign. Then his spirit was moved. He gave a deep sigh and said, “Why do the people of this present time ask for a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this people.” Then he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side of the lake.

“Why do the people of this present time ask for a sign?”
According to Genesis, no sooner were there two brothers, than one killed the other. Along with this primordial sin comes the impulse to evade responsibi­lity. God asks Cain, “Where is your brother, Abel?” And Cain, con­scious of his guilt replies, “I don’t know; am I my brother’s keeper?” Perhaps the seeds of his crime lay in that innocent­ sounding ques­tion. Yes, we are our brother’s and sister’s keeper. The blood of so many victims cries to God from the ground—victims not neces­sarily by our conscious intent, but by our indifference, our failure even to recognize that they are our brothers and sisters. Meanwhile, in the Gospel text, Jesus shows his exasperation with those who want to treat him like a performing monkey: “Show us a trick! Perform a sign!” He did not come to provide diversion or to satisfy their curiosity. Was it not a sign of God’s coming kingdom when he treated strangers, sin­ners, the sick and marginalized as his brothers and sisters? Well, the time will come when he will provide a still greater sign—one that will cost everything, even his very life. But not yet.

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