I think we can all appreciate the very human moments that the Gospel authors capture for us. In today’s Gospel, I think we can all hear in our minds Jesus’ sighing, “from the depth of His spirit.” We’ve all likely experienced both sides of that sigh, as recipients and exasperated individuals whose patience is worn thin.

Jesus is human. He experienced frustration. Time and again He had explained Himself to the Pharisees. He spoke in parables, offered witty sayings, preached and healed and performed miracles. What more did they want?

A sign, they claim. We require a specific sign. Then we will believe. 

Basically, they wanted Jesus to meet their demands and expectations. It is fascinating to consider mere human beings trying to demand signs and wonders from the Son of God. We might even laugh at this behavior which so obviously misses the mark. Yet, we repeat the same offense. We barter with God, “I’ll say a rosary every day if you heal my mother.” Or, “I’ll go to daily Mass if you find me the money for my debts.” We beg, “I’ll do whatever you say, just get me out of this situation.”

This isn’t the way God works. God isn’t someone to be bartered with, He’s someone to walk alongside. God isn’t an accountant, keeping track of how many Hail Mary’s and Our Father’s we said before He will grant our request. He wants so much more than a laundry list of spiritual activities, He wants our very selves. He wants to be in a relationship with us. 

Jesus wants our friendship. A friend is someone who you talk with, who you share both joys and sorrows with. This is the person you turn to for advice, to vent frustration, to dream up big plans. More than this, a true friend is someone you desire in your life because of who they are, not because of what they can give you.  

Again and again, Jesus engages with the Pharisees and scribes throughout the Gospels. Each encounter is another invitation to change their minds, to renew their sight that they might see Him for who He is. They were so focused on what they thought they were looking for that they missed the reality happening before their very eyes.

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