At our coffee hour after mass I had a discussion with our priest about the Shroud of Turin and how this miracle is so neglected in our Episcopal Church. I brought up my idea that the miraculous image of Jesus that is found on the Shroud must be the Sign of Jonah that is mentioned in all of the Gospels.
I postulated that the Sign of Jonah must be some miracle that is associated with the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord, and that, as described in the Gospels, this miracle must be available for an entire generation of people to witness. I concluded that only the Shroud of Turin’s miraculous image could fulfill all of these requirements.
My priest was not at all sympathetic to either of my ideas: that the Shroud is an important miracle that is neglected in our Anglican Church or that it is the Sign of Jonah.
Perhaps the members of the forum would like to support my conclusions? (Or perhaps not?)
Different people approach their own spirituality in different ways. artifacts like the shroud seem to hold the imagination of people.
I don’t need such props for my faith. The shrouds and relics seem to have been perhaps pious at best, but used to create business in pilgrimages to sites and such. Our faith is based on Jesus Christ, the church and its sacred traditions, and scripture.
When do such things cross the line into becoming idols, that take the place of God?
The sign of Jonah seems to refer to the three days that Jesus was in the tomb, before his resurrection. The gospel speaks of Jesus referring that the only sign that some people would get was the sign of Jonah, and it doesn’t seem that he was referring to a cloth that would be discovered centuries later.
but – I have an open mind. What would the connection be between the shroud and the sign of Jonah? I don’t get it.
Context is important here. When the Jewish leaders demanded a “sign” from Jesus, they were asking Him to perform a miracle that they could witness. Lazarus, the man that Jesus had raised from the dead, was there in Jerusalem with Him, but that miracle did not meet their requirements because they had not witnessed it.
As Jesus rebuked these leaders He promised to give the “Sign of Jonah” to an entire generation of people, and in this context that means that this sign must be a miracle available to be witnessed by that generation. That is the first quality that the Sign of Jonah must have.
Jonah, of course, died, was buried in the belly of the whale, and then came back to life. So the Sign of Jonah must be associated with our Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection. That is the second quality.
The Shroud of Turin contains the miraculous image of Jesus as He lay dead in His tomb. It shows His terrible wounds of scourging and death by crucifixion. Furthermore, the image, undisturbed bloodstains, and strange C-14 dating results are only explainable by postulating that our Lord’s corpse disappeared from inside of His tomb, just as described in the Gospel of Matthew.* That disappearance very strongly implies the resurrection.
Therefore the Shroud meets the requirements for the Sign of Jonah as it is a miracle that is witnessed by the whole world, an entire generation of people. It is also proof, not only of Jesus’ existence as a person, but also of His death, burial, and resurrection.
*See “TEST THE SHROUD,” Antonacci, 2015, for the presentation of the Historically Consistent Hypothesis which explains how our Lord’s image came to be miraculously imprinted on His burial linen and why no linen sample from the Shroud will show a C-14 date of more than 800 years old.
**See “THE SHROUD,” Wilson, 2010, for the best historical analysis of the Shroud as it traveled from Jerusalem to Edessa in about 33 A.D. and later to Constantinople in 944 A.D.
It’s a beautiful thought. I support your contention that the Shroud is incredibly significant for us – and it is, in my view, a sign from heaven, yes an important miracle that is sadly neglected not only in your communion but also among many Catholics today.
Your proposal that it is the Sign of Jonah is unique for me - haven’t seen that, but can find no reason to dismiss it out of hand. I can’t think of a better alternative either.
Those are good resources.
Research is on-going and all of the findings in the past 5 years or so have added greater confirmation to the authenticity of the Shroud as the burial cloth of Jesus.
There are some excellent video documentaries recently also. One from Europe shows that the image of Jesus’ hands actually show movement - as when a camera captures a blur in a moving object. The hands are in two different positions. There is a lot more like that - simply astounding and there is no scientific explanation for the origin of the image.
Thank you for your kind replies. I feel that your statement should be qualified in this way:
there is no scientific explanation that does not make use of the miraculous disappearance of our Lord’s corpse from the inside of His sealed tomb.
In a General Audience, Pope John Paul II said, “The Person of the Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is more radically beyond all our means of cognitive awareness. For us the Third Person is a hidden and invisible God…we can explain that the Holy Spirit, like human love itself, finds expression especially in symbols.” (Oct 17, 1990)
The sign of Jonah, a prophet like none other - gave the miraculous fruit of some sort of social repentance -very much like what occurred after the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the rulers of the Roman Empire under the leadership of Constantine. This is due to the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, in order to carry out the regeneration. John Paul II in his encyclical on the Holy Spirit, repeats the phrase found in the Gospel according to St. John: “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin” (Jn 16:8) It seems to me that the sign of Jonah is in some way symbols of the expression of the Holy Spirit in the persuasion of a society. All of which we are not worthy of - even as a whisper.
“The Shroud is also an image of God’s love as well as of human sin. It *invites *us to rediscover the ultimate reason for Jesus’ redeeming death.” (Pope John Paul II, address, 5, 24 May 1998)
“As it speaks to us of love and sin, the Shroud invites us all to impress upon our spirit the face of God’s love, to remove from it the tremendous reality of sin.” (ibid.)
Notice the shroud invites. But, it seems to me that what could be understood of the Sign of Jonah, is a different ‘species’ of power - that it carries an action of omnipotence through natural elements, or in other words miraculous with the intention of social reform.