While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them, “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. At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
What are we to say about Jesus’ warning to this evil generation? Are we an evil generation? Aren’t we all evil in some ways? Pope Francis (“I am a sinner”) reminds us that we are sinners: not to dwell there and be stuck, but to all the better realize the depth of God’s love for us. God is always calling us to his love and grace no matter how many times we make unhealthy choices in our relationships with friends, family, ourselves, and things.
This is the whole point of the first week of the Spiritual Exercises. We are loved sinners! The more honestly I know myself as sinner, the more I can rejoice in God’s unconditional love for me. The more, also, I will want to make this good news known to every person God puts in my life. This grace of the first week of the Exercises is a treasure to be shared with all.
While it is our nature sometimes to make bad choices, it is God’s nature to always love us beyond measure.
—David McNulty works for the Midwest Jesuits. Dave and his wife Judy are grandparents of six.
In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance before all of these created gifts insofar as we have a choice and are not bound by some obligation. We should not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or poverty, success of failure, a long life or short one. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in God. Our only desire and our one choice should be this: I want and I choose what better leads to God’s deepening his life in me.
—St. Ignatius Loyola, the Spiritual Exercises, as paraphrased by David L. Fleming, S.J.