First reading James 1:1-11

Your faith is put to the test so that your patience may make you complete

From James, servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. Greetings to the twelve tribes of the Dispersion.
  My brothers, you will always have your trials but, when they come, try to treat them as a happy privilege; you understand that your faith is only put to the test to make you patient, but patience too is to have its practical results so that you will become fully-developed, complete, with nothing missing.
  If there is any one of you who needs wisdom, he must ask God, who gives to all freely and ungrudgingly; it will be given to him. But he must ask with faith, and no trace of doubt, because a person who has doubts is like the waves thrown up in the sea when the wind drives. That sort of person, in two minds, wavering between going different ways, must not expect that the Lord will give him anything.
  It is right for the poor brother to be proud of his high rank, and the rich one to be thankful that he has been humbled, because riches last no longer than the flowers in the grass; the scorching sun comes up, and the grass withers, the flower falls; what looked so beautiful now disappears. It is the same with the rich man: his business goes on; he himself perishes.

Responsorial Psalm 118(119):67-68,71-72,75-76

R: Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight.

Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now I keep thy word.

Thou art good and doest good; teach me thy statutes.

It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes.

The law of thy mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that in faithfulness thou hast afflicted me.

Let thy steadfast love be ready to comfort me according to thy promise to thy servant.


Gospel Mark 8:11-13

No sign shall be given to this generation

The Pharisees came up and started a discussion with Jesus; they demanded of him a sign from heaven, to test him. And with a sigh that came straight from the heart he said, ‘Why does this generation demand a sign? I tell you solemnly, no sign shall be given to this generation.’ And leaving them again and re-embarking, he went away to the opposite shore.

Jesus is the sign

The Pharisees and the Scribes did not believe in Jesus and looked for ways to trap Him. No matter how often they witnessed His miracles, they would attribute them to evil spirits or dismiss them because their hearts were closeed. In this passage, the Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign to prove that He came from God. Jesus felt frustrated, Why? Because He Himself is the sign that the Father has given to the world, as the prophet Isaiah prophesied: “The Lord will give you a sign: The young woman is with child and will give birth to a son whom she will call Immanuel.” (Is 7:14) He is the presence of God Himself, the Sacrament of the Father, and whoever sees Him, sees the Father (Jn 14:9).
Sometimes, we also ask God for a sign so that we can be sure of His will, without realising that “the Sign” is Jesus who walks with us, lives in and with us. We need to listen to Him more and let Him guide us daily.
Reflective question:
Do I ask other signs from Jesus to believe, or do I fully trust Him?
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year B” by Sr Maria Jose FMVD.