The Gospel reading from the Mass for Friday for the 33rd Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 19:45-48.

While the people shouted with joyous acclaim as Christ entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, Christ was moved to great sorrow; He weeps as He prophesizes the coming destruction of the Temple and the slaughter of multitudes of Jews (in 70 A.D. Christ’s prediction comes true when over 1 million Jews were slaughtered by the Romans to put down a rebellion).  As He enters the Temple, Christ finds the Temple corrupt as foretold 500 years earlier (Mal 3:1-2).

Due to the growing number of Jewish pilgrims, it had become “big business” to provide animals and exchange foreign currency for the Temple tax; the priests and many men profited from the lucrative business, even allowing the sacrilege of buying and selling inside the Temple in the outer court. Christ’s love of His “Father’s house” was strong from an early age (Luke 2:41-52) and moved by righteous indignation, Christ, whip in hand, forcefully drives out the merchants and animals from the large outer court area (35 acres/26 football fields), rightfully calling them “thieves” (Jer 7:11).

Christ then defends the Temple from further sacrilege. He condemns the corruption of Israel for failing to offer worthy prayer (Isa 56:7) and desecrating His Temple. The Jewish leaders who profited from the corrupt Temple commerce scheme conspire to kill Christ but are afraid to take action because the crowd “hung on His words.”

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ defends His Father’s house.  Son of Man, Christ courageously clears out a large hostile crowd of “robbers” from the acres-large outer Temple area; His physical presence and righteous anger was powerfully intimidating. Divine Prophet, Christ echoes both Isaiah and Jeremiah, saying the words He inspired them to write.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) The outer Temple area was very large (35 acres) and filled with cut-throat merchants (robbers) who had much to lose. Marvel at Christ’s intimidating persona and physical presence and His fierce defense of the Holiness of God in the Temple (CCC 583-586).

2) Sadly, in many parishes today, there is a Sacrilegious (CCC 2118, 2120, 2139) lack of awe and honor for Christ, who resides in the Tabernacle; casual or immodest dress, chatter before, during and after mass, irreverent music, casual reception of the Eucharist, etc. Renew your understanding of the need for Deep Reverence of the Eucharist (CCC 1384-1390,1415,1418, 2628) and pray for Christ to help you and all men have the zeal to show respect for and defend the honor of Christ’s Real Presence.

3) Evil men schemed and murdered the Son of God; Catholic men should not be surprised by and prepare for persecution in all its various forms (bigotry, calumny, legal coercion, imprisonment, violence, murder). Reflect on Persecution (CCC 530, 675, 1435, 1716, 2303) and pray for Christ’s intervention to help you protect and expand His Kingdom in the face of these evils.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ

Virtue of the Day – Faith

Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the sick

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To forgive all injuries

The Gospel reading from the Mass for Thursday for the 33rd Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 19:41-44.

As His long ascent towards Jerusalem nears its end, Christ is welcomed by massive crowds who lay down palm branches and hail Him as a conquering king.  Gazing upon Jerusalem (meaning “City of Peace”), Christ weeps over the coming fate of His great city and the many souls who have and will reject the salvation He alone brings.

The God of Creation, who is with the Father from the beginning (John 1:1), recalls the establishment of Jerusalem for His Chosen People. Christ recalls Israel’s rejection of God that culminates in the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. and the exile to Babylon. He accurately foresees Israel’s rejection of Him and His Crucifixion during Passion Week and the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.  In the coming destruction, Christ remarkably foresees the Roman siege in which the Romans surround Jerusalem, built ramparts (cast up a bank) and trap the Jews inside (hem you in) and ultimately slaughter them; It is estimated that over a million Jews died during the Jewish rebellion.

Christ weeps as He foresees: “For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies will…dash you to the ground, you and your children within you…because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Those who reject Christ reject peace and invite destruction.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ’s awareness is eternal and He recalls ancient events and future events; eternal, He is beyond time and space. Divine Prophet, Christ accurately predicts the coming destruction of Jerusalem 40 years in the future. Son of Man, Christ expresses deep sorrow and loss over the many souls who will perish, both physically and eternally.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) As a Divine Person, Christ has both a divine nature and human nature. Marvel how  in the Incarnation, God personally experiences the joys and sorrows of His Creation as the Perfect Man.

2) Despite God’s 5th Commandment forbidding the murder of innocent life (Ex 20:13), many Catholic men support abortion failing to grasp Christ’s own anguished words, “your children within you.”  Review the Church’s unfailing condemnation of all Abortion (CCC 2270-2275, 2322) and pray for Christ to help you to fearlessly defend mothers and their unborn children.

3) Today, rampant sin (fornication, abortion, pornography, homosexual acts and “marriage”, abortion, divorce, contraception) is widely embraced by citizens and protected in law by governments; Christ’s warnings about the destruction of evil societies is ignored. Review men’s duty to Refuse Obedience to Immoral Governments and Laws (CCC 450, 1901-1903, 2242-2243, 2313) and pray for Christ to give you the wisdom and fortitude to always do His Will.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Luminous Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Holy Eucharist

Virtue of the Day – Fortitude

Corporal Work of Mercy – To shelter the homeless

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To bear wrongs patiently

The Gospel reading from the Mass for Wednesday for the 33rd Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 19:11-28.

Nearing Jerusalem and His Passion, Christ responds to the widespread false Jewish belief that the Messiah would take the political throne in Jerusalem and usher in an immediate world-wide Kingdom of God. To address this misconception, Christ gives in The Parable of the Ten Pounds (called the Parable of the Talents in Matthew). Christ alludes to His Kingdom is far away (a far country), He will be absent for a time, will return to settle up accounts and men will be held accountable.

Jesus Christ (the nobleman) will ascend to Heaven (a far country) and be crowned King (be granted kingly power). Christ has entrusted the Gospel (10 pounds; about 3 years of wages) to His disciples (servants), expecting them to lead others to the Kingdom (return on investment).  Each man (servant) will be called before Christ (the King) to account at the Judgment (the King comes to settle accounts). Men (servants) who deliver outstanding results (50 and 100% returns on talents!) are enthusiastically acknowledged (“Well done”) and rewarded (given great authority) by Christ (the King).

Men who fail to offer Christ a return (the servant hides the 10 pounds away in a napkin) because of fear of responsibility, stupidity (did not earn interest in a bank) or laziness (slothful) will be harshly rebuked (“wicked”) and stripped of responsibility (pounds taken away). Christ confirms that those who rebel against His Kingdom are His enemies and will be cast into Hell (“Slay them before me”).

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ offers insights into the mind of God and the future event of Judgment. Divine King, Christ has high expectations for every man to bear fruits with the gifts given and He rewards and punishes men based on their results. Divine Teacher, Christ teaches with compelling parables that continue to inspire men today. Divine Judge, Christ judges men and that some will be rewarded with eternal joy and others with eternal despair.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Many men are live as if Catholicism is a low-expectation faith. Reflect upon Christ’s careful construction of this parable (and many other teachings) that describes His high expectations and the rewards and very harsh punishments (“Slay them before me”) of Judgment; let holy fear motivate your actions to serve Christ the King.

2) Christ gives every man both common and different gifts: the gift of life, abilities (functional skills, spiritual gifts, etc.) and resources (financial, material gifts, etc.).  Reflect upon the Equality and Differences Among Men (CCC 225, 340, 357, 791, 1934-1938) and pray for Christ to help you and all men be grateful and to use the talents He has given them to build the Kingdom.

3) In responding to Christ’s difficult sayings (“slay them before me”), some falsely claim that all Christ’s tough sayings are really just hyperbole (exaggeration) to make a point; Christ gives harsh warnings and does not make mistakes. Review the Catechism’s teaching on the Just Use of Force (CCC 2307-2317) and the Death Penalty (CCC 2267) and pray for Christ to guide you to avoid violence but to always protect and defend the weak using appropriate means.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Glorious Mysteries

Daily Devotion – Saint Joseph

Virtue of the Day – Temperance

Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the imprisoned

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To comfort the sorrowful

The Gospel reading from the Mass for Tuesday for the 33rd Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 19:1-10.

Passing through the ancient city of Jericho on the way towards His Passion in Jerusalem, Christ is surrounded by a huge crowd. A chief tax collector of the region named Zacchaeus desperately attempts to get a glimpse of Christ but cannot because of the crowd.  Zacchaeus, whose name ironically means “clean, pure”, was a serious sinner: tax collectors were notorious sinners who worked for the occupying Romans to squeeze taxes out of the Jews, often stealing by overcharging.  Zacchaeus was a rich and in charge of multiple tax collectors; he was certainly one of the most hated men in Jericho.

Blocked by the crowd due to his short stature, Zacchaeus runs ahead and climbs a tree, desperate to get even a passing glimpse of Christ; it is an undignified display for a prominent man. Mysteriously, as Christ passes by, He knows Zacchaeus by sight and by name. Christ commands Zacchaeus to come down and announces that He will stay at Zaccchaeus’ house.

In an incredible conversion, Zacchaeus obeys and joyfully receives Christ. The crowd, knowing of Zacchaeus’ past treachery, are scandalized that Christ would enter the house of such a contemptible sinner. But Zacchaeus stuns: he promises to repay those he has cheated 4-fold (the law only required a 2-fold restitution) and to give away half of his wealth.  After Zacchaeus makes his public act of contrition, Christ proclaims that Zacchaeus has been saved.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ is omniscient, knowing about the inner and outer lives of every man.  Divine King, Christ has a perfect plan that mysteriously and unexpectedly impacts each soul. Divine Mercy, Christ converts, forgives and saves even the most treacherous men who seek Him.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Be awed by Christ’s marvelous plan of salvation. Christ purposefully graces the heart of a treacherous man (like the conversion of the murderous Paul) who makes very public conversion: Zacchaeus’ conversion undoubtedly lead others to Christ’s power and immediately gives financial relief to many. Zacchaeus’ conversion still moves men’s hearts.

2) Christ’s revelation that Zacchaeus is “saved” happens only after Zacchaeus, full of contrition (“sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again.”), repents from his sins and offers extraordinary reparation for his theft. Refresh your understanding of Contrition (CCC 1451-1454, 1457, 1480, 1492) and pray for Christ to help you always have perfect contrition for your sins.

3) Like Zacchaeus, those who have perfect contrition have a strong desire to make reparation for their sins; Christ demonstrates the ultimate example of reparation for sins by dying on the Cross (CCC 613-617) Review the Catechism’s teaching on Reparation (CCC 1491, 2409, 2412, 2454, 2487, 2509) and pray for Christ to help you make restitution to those you have hurt.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Guardian Angels

Virtue of the Day – Justice

Corporal Work of Mercy – To clothe the naked

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To counsel the doubtful

The Gospel reading from the Mass for Monday for the 33rd Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 18:35-43.

On the way to His Passion, Christ taught, prophesied about His death and resurrection and miraculously healed those with incurable illnesses. In a tour de force of miraculous healing, Christ healed a crippled women (skeletal), a man with dropsy (circulatory),10 lepers (skin); Near Jericho, He now miraculously gives a blind man sight.

The long suffering blind man who begs to survive, desperately attempts to find out why the great throngs of people are going by. Evidentially, the blind man knows of Jesus and perhaps has even waited for Him; the man cries out with some familiarity, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” The blind man knows who Jesus is, that Jesus can miraculously heal and that He is perhaps the Messiah (Son of David).  The crowd, enamored and annoyed, tells the man to shut-up; ironically, the man is crying out for mercy and the crowd shows no mercy. The blind man, spiritually moved by the presence of God, shouts even louder with a “blind faith” in Christ.

In a rebuke and a lesson in mercy to the crowd, Christ stops and commands the crowd to bring the blind man forward. While He knows what the man wants, Christ asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man demonstrates complete faith; addresses Christ as “Lord”, believes in Christ has miraculous healing power and respectfully requests Christ to heal him. With simply a word, Christ restores the man’s sight and tells the man that he is not only physically healed but spiritually healed (the word used for “heal” can also be rendered “saved”). Realizing he has been both healed and saved, the man glorifies God and follows Christ. The man’s miraculous healing and his faith and gratitude to God stirs the previously unmerciful crowd to give praise to God.

Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of David, Christ recognized by many as the long awaited Messiah. Divine Physician, Christ has the ability to heal those with devastating disabilities. Divine Mercy, Christ reaches out to those who come to Him in faith in their suffering. Divine Teacher, Christ uses miraculous healings to teach men about faith and mercy.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Despite the residue blessing of still living in a largely Christian culture, the poor and suffering are often passed by, overlooked, exploited for political gain or enfeebled with dependency. Reflect upon Christ’s Divine Mercy and the priority He places on helping strangers; be awed by His miraculous healing powers.

2) The healed man’s shouts of gratitude not only justly gives God glory for healing but is also spurs others to glorify God; publicly giving God glory for His blessings to you can help lead others to God. Reflect on the importance of Gratitude (CCC 800, 1360, 1418, 2097, 2099, 2215, 2218, 2239, 2251, 2280, 2362) and pray for Christ to give you a grateful heart that draws others to Him.

3) A Catholic man who lacks concrete acts of mercy is not imitating Christ. Review the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy (CCC 2447) and pray for Christ to give you the faith and fortitude to make a substantial difference in the lives of the poor and suffering.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Souls in Purgatory

Virtue of the Day – Prudence

Corporal Work of Mercy – To give drink to the thirsty

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To instruct the ignorant