The Evil Generation and Their Sign
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.”
But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.
For as Jonah was three days in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
(Mt 12: 38-40)
This passage refers to the Jews’ disbelief that Jesus was God, and to the fact that many would not convert, even after witnessing Jesus’ Resurrection.
But it has an application for the pro-life cause; even in these days of unprecedented access to medical research, 4D ultrasound imaging and a high success-rate for saving babies born prematurely, there still exist abortion proponents who claim that the unborn baby is:
‘just a blob.’
‘Incapable of feeling pain.’
The rhetoric of abortion advocates has seduced this generation into believing that a fetus is not a child; that it has no soul, no value, and that it is not made in the image of God.
Its humanity has been stripped away by the use of the objectifying words with which we are so familiar: ’tissue’, ‘products of conception’ and so on.
As John Paul II stated in Evangelium Vitae:
This playing with words is maybe itself a sign of an uneasiness of conscience.
No word has the power the change things: procured abortion is direct killing.
This dehumanizing language has even spilled over into the everyday speech of health professionals, and not only abortion-providers. A few years ago, I had an ultrasound a few years ago to determine whether or not I had miscarried, and asked the technician if my baby had died. He surprised me by answering, “The results appear consistent with a recent pregnancy.” Pregnancy? I thought I had been expecting a baby. Did this highly-trained specialist, working in a Catholic hospital, have a problem coping with life and death? Why was there no brief sympathy, no polite acknowledgement of the death of my child? To have his answer put in those terms was startling and confusing.
Matthew’s Gospel points to the hidden nature of the child’s humanity; the sign of the prophet Jonah, who although hidden, was fully human while in the belly of the whale. This ‘hidden humanity’ has been obvious for millennia to expectant mothers who have delighted in feeling their fetus kick and roll in the womb.
But that ‘evil generation that still asks for a sign’ is not content to search out hidden humanity.In its ironic ignorance, it simply asks for a sign that there is something wrong with ending a life.