signs please

Mar 28, 2022


Chatham Islands Wharekauri is one of the hidden gems of Aotearoa.

As Parish Priest I visited several times each year over a nine year period and looked forward to my visits to this unique, rugged landscape home to a people of grounded and practical faith.

Following the 2-3 hour flight from NZ (even though the Chathams is a part of NZ the locals refer to it as if it were a different country), and the 20 minute drive to Waitangi township, then crossing the bridge, there is the often photographed sign which always brings a smile.

What more do you need, hospital, bottle store and church.

There’s also a cemetery up the same road which would complete the sign-post well.

Anyone who was looking for the Waitangi church, the bottle-store or the hospital would be happy to see this sign, evidence that they were headed in the right direction and the destination was near.

But people looking for these three places never stop at the sign.

After my first visit I didn’t need the sign. It had served it’s purpose and while it still made me smile more often than not I didn’t even notice it.

There are several ways of reading Jesus’ comment in today’s gospel reading: “So you will not believe unless you see signs?”

How would you answer Jesus asking you: “so you will not believe unless you see signs?”

Is Jesus reprimanding, stating a fact, or innocently asking a question?

I’ve thought about this. My answer is “No.”

Not only will I not believe, but I cannot believe unless I see signs of Jesus present and active in my life.

I might want to believe, and try to believe, but I am only able to believe if I have signs, when I see and experience evidence of Jesus’ present.

A child will believe simply because others tell them. However mature adult faith needs personal experience and evidence.

So what do we do?

Here’s my suggestion.

Ask Jesus for signs of his presence and action in your life.

Be bold in your asking.

Try it now.

I guarantee that within hours you will notice signs that encourage, challenge and inspire you.

The reason is not that Jesus will suddenly start to send you signs – although this may happen.

While Jesus often responds directly to our prayer, what also happens when we pray is that we become ready, open and expectant to receiving what we pray for.

Prays for evidence of Jesus’ personal presence and you will begin to notice that you are never alone.

God is with you.



  1. The reading, the psalm and the Gospel of today is enough of a sign for me that Jesus is present and hearing my prayers.

  2. Amen

  3. Thanks Fr John, just what I need today

  4. Thank you Father.

  5. Thanks so much, I agree. Seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened..

  6. Amen thanks Father John really appreciated the lesson to seek Jesus always


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts

so simple

so simple

So simple that children who naturally and naively live with open eyes and ears get it, when we adults too often miss the point.

mountains & roofs

mountains & roofs

. The prevailing sense in the Old Testament was that God lived in the heavens (above). Therefore mountain-tops (where heaven and earth seem to intersect) were a logical place of encounter with the divine. We see this in Moses, the holy Old Testament leader of people,...

opportunity knocks

opportunity knocks

I find it very helpful to hear Jesus speaking directly to me, not as a fearsome threat but as an invitation to not miss the divine presence in the midst of the routines and demands, the ups and downs of my daily life.

the gardener

the gardener

The question surprised me and the look in the young boy’s eyes let me know that he wanted more than a religious-cliche-response. I took a moment to think, pray, and think again and was surprised at the answer that came to me.

in the field

in the field

Such wise people have reflected on their life experience enough to know that while a peaceful and perfect day is welcome, we are most connected with others and therefore with God (we could also say most connected with God and therefore with others), when we live a struggle together.