Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the crowd that no sign will be given except the sign of Jonah, a vague hint of his Resurrection. The Resurrection means that Jesus of Nazareth, who claimed throughout his public life to be speaking and acting in the very person of God, and who was brutally put to death by Roman executioners, rose bodily from the dead.
One implication of the Resurrection is that we have a real advocate in heaven. The biblical imagination on this score is not Greek—that is to say, not marked by sharp dualisms of matter and spirit. The great hope of Israel is not a jailbreak, not an escape from this world, but precisely the coming together of heaven and earth.
The bodily Resurrection of Jesus—as the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep—is the great sign that the two orders are coming together. A body that can be touched and that can consume baked fish has found its way into the realm of heaven. And thus bodies are not finally alien to God. We have indeed an advocate in the heavenly places.