The Gospel reading from the Mass for Sunday – Cycle A for the 33rd Week of Ordinary Time is Matthew 25:14-30.

Having exhorted men to be watchful and prepared for His coming as the Passion draws near, Christ continues His teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven in The Parable of the Talents by revealing what He expects from from His disciples. Jesus Christ (the master) has entrusted the Gospel (wealth/talents) to His disciples (servants) and expects men to lead others to the Kingdom (return on investment). Christ (the master) gives each man (servant) gifts (talents), each receiving varying (talents of 5, 3, 1) and substantial gifts (a talent is equal to several million in today’s dollars).

Each man (servant) will be called before Christ (the master) to account at the Judgment (master comes to settle accounts). Men (servants) who deliver outstanding results (100% return on talents!) are enthusiastically acknowledged (“Well done”) and rewarded (“enter your Master’s joy”) by Christ (the master) and given more responsibility (“will set you over much”).

Men who fail to offer Christ a return (the servant who buries 1 talent) because of fear of responsibility, stupidity (did not put the talent in the bank) or laziness (slothful) will be harshly rebuked (“wicked”), stripped of responsibility (talent taken away) and cast into Hell (“outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth”).

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 Judge, Christ judges men; some will be rewarded with eternal joy and others with eternal despair.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) While many men live as if Catholicism is a low-expectation faith, Christ is a demanding King. Reflect on Christ’s careful construction of this parable (and many other teachings) that describes His high expectations and the rewards and punishments of Judgment (CCC 546).

2) While many today demand equality in outcomes (equal wages, equal access to education/jobs), Christ makes it clear that men have different worldly capabilities and potentials. Review the Catechism’s teaching on the Equality and Differences among Men (CCC 1934-1938) and pray for Christ to help you accept recognize differences in people while upholding the dignity of every human soul.

3) In this parable, Christ reveals that Catholic men are choosing their eternal destiny every day by how they use their talents. Refresh your understanding of the Judgment (CCC 393, 678-679, 1021-1022) and pray for Christ to give you the grace to cultivate and use your talents to build His Kingdom today.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Glorious Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Blessed Trinity

Virtue of the Day – Charity

Corporal Work of Mercy – To feed the hungry

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To admonish the sinner

The Gospel reading from the Mass for Saturday of the 32nd Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 18:1-8.

After warning the disciples of the coming apocalyptic trials before the Son of Man (Jesus) returns, Christ girds their hope to give them confidence with the Parable of the Widow and the Unrighteous Judge.  In it, Christ exhorts His men to relentlessly persist in prayer and to be assured that God will answer.

Christ uses classic logic in the arguments He builds into the Parable of the Widow and the Unrighteous Judge; an a fortiori (Latin meaning “from the stronger”) argument gets agreement for a proposition and then asserts a more compelling (stronger) proposition that is even more compelling.

A weak man (a poor widow) persistently files a lawsuit using an imperfect secular legal system (coming to the judge) ruled over by powerful but imperfect men (the Unrighteous Judge); given the relentless persistence of the man, even the imperfect judge in an imperfect system finally grants justice (vindication).  A stronger case can be made that men who cry out to God will be vindicated for He is the perfection of love, mercy, truth and justice and will undoubtably answer the prayers of those men who have faith in Him. Returning to the apocalyptic trauma and prophecies of His return, Christ promises God will “vindicate His elect” but then asks the searing question: “when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ offers an inside view of how God hears and responds to prayer. Astoundingly, on behalf of the Father, Christ promises for God that God will vindicate the “elect” who pray with persistence. Divine Teacher, Christ builds compelling parables using classic logic (a fortiori) that are understandable and memorable. Divine Judge, Christ explicitly compares Himself to a judge and confirms that He will mete out justice.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Men appreciate great arguments and soaring rhetoric.  Marvel at the truth that in Christ Jesus, men can witness the greatest thinker and orator (and greatest everything) of eternity, as He must be, for He is God.

2) Recalling His Beatitude, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matt 5:60), Christ reaffirms His promise that “the elect” will be vindicated. Reflect upon The Elect (CCC 1025, 1031,1045, 1344, 1994) and pray for Christ to help you come to unswerving faith.

3) Men who fail to regularly pray suffer greatly when the inevitable crises of life come (illness, betrayal, loss, death, etc.) for they lack a personal relation to Christ. Reflect about the need to Persevere in Prayer (CCC 2098, 2573, 2613, 2742-2754) and pray with persistence and devotion to Jesus, Mary and Joseph, assured of Christ’s promise that your prayers are heard and answered.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Blessed Virgin Mary

Virtue of the Day – Hope

Corporal Work of Mercy – To bury the dead

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To pray for the living and the dead

The Gospel reading from the Mass for Friday of the 32nd Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 17:26-37.

After mysteriously predicting His Passion and Resurrection and warning the disciples not follow those who proclaim false messiahs, Christ uses the Old Testament to describe His Second Coming, the end of the world and the Final Judgment.

Christ likens the Second Coming to the sudden cataclysmic destruction revealed in well-known Old Testament accounts.  During Noah’s time, despite the perversion and sinfulness, human activities continued up until the sudden and devastating flood. So too, during Lot’s time, while abhorrent homosexual acts were widely accepted in some places, humans lived and worked up until the destroying fire and brimstone from Heaven leveled Sodom and Gomorrah. Despite the appearance of normality in human activities, where there is perversion at the time of the Second Coming, there will be sudden destruction.

Christ reveals the selective nature of the coming holocaust and offers Divine Counsel to those who will be granted eternal life. Men (or women) in identical circumstances will be selectively saved (one man/woman taken, the other man/woman left); the sinful will be destroyed and the just preserved.  When the destruction comes, men are to flee, abandoning possessions and not look back with sorrow for the life they are leaving behind. Rather, men must be prepared to give up their lives for the sake of God and their brothers and sisters; in this self-sacrifice will come the reward of eternal life.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ recounts the ancient Scripture He inspired men to write. Divine Prophet, Christ warns of the coming destruction and offers advice as to how to survive.  Divine Judge, Christ makes clear that many will be destroyed and some will be accepted into Heaven.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1)  Many have the hopeful delusion that every soul, no matter how sinful and unrepentant, goes to Heaven. Reread the Savior’s explicit and terrifying words in today’s Gospel to dispel this delusion.

2) Christ makes it clear that some while not enter the Kingdom.  Review why many will be Excluded from Entering the Kingdom (CCC 1852, 1861, 2450) and pray for Christ to help you to reject mortal sin and be healed in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

2) In describing His Second Coming, Christ deliberately refers to the destruction of Sodom, a town  where men publicly practiced and celebrated homosexual acts (Gen 19:1-19), “acts which cry out to Heaven” (CCC 1867). Review the Church’s teaching about Homosexual Acts (CCC 2357-2358, 2396) and pray for Christ to help those who engage in homosexual acts to repent, to be forgiven, to resist sin and to live chastely.

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 of the 32nd Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 17:20-25.

Christ’s stupendous miracle of healing of 10 lepers draws great attention, including from the Pharisees who ask when the Kingdom of God is coming. Despite the miracle, the Pharisee’s question reveals they do not believe that Christ is the Messiah; the common Jewish belief was that the Kingdom of God would an overwhelming political event which freed and elevated Israel to worldly dominance.

Christ refutes the common belief that the coming of the Kingdom will be a spectacular political event, saying “the Kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed.” Ironically, in the Pharisee’s stubborn belief that a powerful sign predicts the coming of the Kingdom, they miss the greatest sign possible: Christ the King is right in front of them. Christ mysteriously reveals, “the Kingdom of God is in your midst”; Christ the King is present and where the King is, is the Kingdom.

To the disciples, Christ offers a more complete response that reveals the nature of the Kingdom of God is “already but not yet here” with mysteriously prophetic words.  He reveals His coming absence after the Crucifixion (“you will…desire to see… the Son of man…[but] will not…”) for the Son of Man “must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation” (be crucified). Christ offers hope in the near term, promising to return with undeniable certainty (as obvious as lightening that fills the sky) that is made clear after the Resurrection (Christ Himself appears and spends 40 days with the disciples). Longer term, Christ refers to His Second Coming when the Kingdom of God will be fully manifest (“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done”).

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of GodSon of Man and Divine King, Christ has the power to bring the Kingdom of God in fullness at a time of His choosing.  Divine Prophet, Christ accurately predicts His Crucifixion and Resurrection and prophecizes the future fullness of the Kingdom of God.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Some men dabble in psychic predictions or follow astrologers, hoping for a glimmer of some mysterious reality. Contemplate the Christ, the greatest power and ultimate reality, who mysteriously repeatedly and accurately predicted many verifiable things (Crucifixion, Resurrection, the Catholic Church, etc.)

2) Like the Pharisees, many men today do not believe that Christ and His Kingdom are reality.  Review Christ’s Revelation of the Kingdom (CCC 538-570) and pray for Christ to help you long for and to enter into His Kingdom.

3) Many Protestants, obsess about predicting the Second Coming. The Church continually reaffirms Christ’s teaching not to follow false teachers (‘Lo, there!’ or ‘Lo, here!’ Do not go, do not follow them”). Review the Church’s teaching about how He will come again in glory (CCC 668-682) and pray for Christ’s grace to withstand the coming trials.

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 of the 32nd Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 17:11-19.

After warning the disciples of the damnation that comes to those who lead others into sin and commanding them to humbly do their duty, Christ demonstrates His Divine Mercy by miraculously healing 10 lepers. Leprosy is a devastating illness (though curable today) that ravages the bodies of lepers. Worse, since leprosy made a man “unclean” by Jewish law (Lev 13-14) and was contagious, lepers were outcasts who were forced to live outside of cities, shut out from the covenant life of Israel.

Though they were neighbors who shared some common Jewish blood, Samaritans and Jews were hostile to and avoided each other. But in the trauma of leprosy, a Samaritan leper banded together with 9 Jews in their social exile. Begging for Christ’s mercy from a distance (as was required by Jewish law), Christ tells them to “show yourselves to the priests” (another Jewish law requirement to confirm healing; Lev 14) and they are healed on the way. In this, Christ prefigures how the Sacrament of Reconciliation draws the sinner back into full community with the Body of Christ, just as cleansed lepers are allowed back into Jewish society by being declared clean by a priest.

Only the Samaritan returns to Christ Jesus, joyfully praising God and falling prostrate at Christ’s feet. Christ confirms His Divinity as the Samaritan gives “praise to God” and publicly rebukes the 9 Jews who have failed to be grateful to Him. Previewing His salvation to all men including Jews and Gentiles (Samaritans), Christ says, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” While Christ healed the bodies of the 10 lepers, only the Samaritan, who’s faith is confirmed by his adoration and gratitude of Christ, is given the eternal blessing of the salvation of his soul (“your faith has made you well”).

Awed by Jesus Christ – As the Son of God, Christ is Divine Mercy incarnate and is the Perfection of Virtue. The Divine Physician, Christ has the omniscience and omnipotence to supernaturally heal any sickness. Divine Priest, Christ prefigures the Sacrament of Confession and emphasizes the need for priests.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Men often fail to be awed by Christ’s miracles because they fail to think deeply. Look at images of leprosy on the internet and realize that Christ healed the 10 lepers instantaneously. Be awed.

2) As Christ rebukes the 9 of the 10 healed lepers who failed to return and praise Him, so too must Christ rebuke the many Catholic men who fail to zealously offer praise to Him for His many blessings. Reflect on the need for the Prayer of Praise (CCC 2639-2643, 2649) and pray for Christ to give you a faith by which you willingly “fall on your face” to praise Him.

3) As Christ heals both the leprosy and the soul of the Grateful Leper, Christ can heal men of both physical and spiritual disease. Reflect on Christ the Divine Physician (CCC 1481, 1484, 1503-1510, 1848) and pray for Him to heal you and those who need Him, according to His will; receive or bring someone in need to the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.

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