Luke 11:29-32 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
The Sign of Jonah
29 When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah became a sign to the men of Nin′eveh, so will the Son of man be to this generation. 31 The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nin′eveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
The generation seeks a sign. What they expect is probably a sign written in the sky saying that Jesus is the Messiah, but as Jesus says, no sign should be given to them, except the sign of Jonah.
What is the sign of Jonah though? The sign of Jonah is an allegory to the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jonah offered himself up into the belly of the whale for the sake of those on His boat, in witness to the Almighty LORD. He died in the whale, and spent 3 days in the depths of its bowels. On the third day however, he walked again when the Lord allowed him to be regurgitated onto the beach.
Jesus, offered himself up for the sake of all mankind, and was swallowed into the depths of the Earth for three days, until the Father glorified Him and rose Him from the grave.
So, Jesus is alluding to what will happen to Him for the sake of mankind. Jesus is clear that there will be no signs (which they expect), and rather, He insinuates that He is the sign that people are looking for.
Where in our lives are we searching for signs? Do we search for signs written in the sky? I know I often look for connections in things and try to draw paths, whether it be from literal signs I see, or things that I try to rationalize that seem to be satisfactory. I believe, however, that I do this often for my own selfish pleasure, thinking that I can pick out signs, and follow a "treasure-map" so to speak, to heaven.
This is not the case, as Jesus tells us. I believe the signs Jesus gives to us are the people he brings to us, the people that stand for Him, and bring us closer to the Father, just as He Himself was the sign for the Jewish people.
Why oh why, do I search far and wide, when you're standing right in front of my face?
St. Teresa of Avilà, Pray for Us.
Love and Peace,