After warning men to repent and revealing that many of the outwardly pious will not enter the Kingdom of God, some Pharisees come and tell Christ to flee because King Herod is seeking to kill Him. The Pharisees don’t care about Christ’s fate; they are furious because Christ has rebuked their false piety and are jealous of the crowds who are flocking to Christ.

Christ sees through the Pharisees’ attempts to frighten Him. Christ uses the derogatory “fox” in referring to Herod, demonstrating His fearlessness of worldly power. Cryptically, He refers to His coming Passion with His reference to three days (He rises on the third day) and that a prophet must perish in Jerusalem.

Christ laments the hardness of His chosen people’s hearts, their stubborn resistance to the hearing God’s word and their stoning of the prophets. Because of their sinfulness and rejection of God’s mercy, rather than offering protection, Christ declares that He has withdrawn His support for the earthly Jerusalem. The phrase “Blessed is he…” is a Jewish idiom (quoted in Psalm 118) which refers to the greeting of the bridegroom: Christ is revealing that Jerusalem’s burden will not be lifted until Christ is welcomed as the Messiah who comes to wed His people.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ sees through the schemes of men. Perfection of virtue, Christ is fearless of the Pharisees and Herod, rebuking them publicly. Divine Mercy, Christ laments the sinfulness of Israel and their rejection of His Mercy. Divine Prophet, Christ cryptically acknowledges His coming Passion and predicts Israel will eventually welcome Him.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) The Divine Prophet, Christ sends the prophets to Israel throughout Salvation History, personally comes to His people in the Incarnation, reveals His coming Passion and makes predictions about Israel’s eventual acceptance of Him. Be awed.

2) Nations are born but inevitably fail, often catastrophically, when the people turn from God. Christ confirms that God withdraws His support of nations when He is rejected; this is true throughout Israel’s history and comes true in A.D. 70 after the Jews reject Christ. Pray for Christ to inspire today’s people and that He does not withdraw His support of your country.

3) Many Catholic men fail to confront their own sin (80% of Catholic men don’t go to Confession even once a year) and therefore close themselves off from Christ’s Divine Mercy. Pray for Christ to guide you and all men to repent, receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and receive His mercy.

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

On His way toward Jerusalem, after offering several parables on the Kingdom of God, Christ responds directly to a man’s question who asks “if many will be saved or only a few.” Christ offers the Parable of the Narrow Door in response to the question. Christ urges men to rigorously practice their faith to be saved (to enter in the Narrow Door) for many who were unrepentant in life and want to enter Heaven upon death won’t be accepted.

Christ (the householder) after His Resurrection (has risen up) will close Heaven (shut the door). Despite the pleading of men who were unrepentant casual Catholics (we ate and drank with you), Christ (the householder) will refuse to accept them (I do not know where you come from; depart from Me), calling them evil doers (workers of iniquity) and casting them into Hell (weeping and gnashing of teeth).

Christ reveals that Old Testament patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and many Gentiles from around the world (east, west, north and south) will be accepted into great feast of Heaven (at table) and many, who assume they will be in Heaven, will not.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ reveals the difficulty in entering Heaven and the existence of Hell. Divine Teacher, Christ offers the powerful and memorable Parable of the Narrow Door which continues to capture men’s attention. Divine Judge, Christ gives a glimpse of His hard-nose treatment of those who are unrepentant and casual in the faith.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Some in the Catholic Church, even those with pedigree and power, persist in promoting the heresy that there is a “reasonable hope” that all men will enter Heaven. Reread Christ’s strong words in today’s Gospel to dispel that lie.

2) The modern culture denigrates the ages-old role of men as leaders of their families and society. God has specifically chosen to be revealed as masculine (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and purposefully established patriarchy in the Church; the Patriarchs (Abraham, Issac and Jacob), the Prophets, the Apostles, the Catholic priesthood, and the headship of men in families. Pray for Christ to help you to, with prudence and sacrificial charity, be a heroic leader, protecter and provider in your family and parish.

3) Given the inherent unworthiness of men due to their frequent sin, due both to the sinful things men do (commission) and the holy things men do not do (omission), only by God’s Grace are men saved. Casual Catholicism is insufficient for salvation. Resolve, with the help of Christ’s Grace, to give your absolute best to Christ and to pray to be one of the few He judges as worthy to enter through the Narrow Door.

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


As crowds rejoice at Christ’s many miracles and His public rebukes of religious leaders who are confused and corrupted, Christ turns the crowd’s attention to the coming Kingdom of Heaven with two short, but powerful, parables.

The Parable of the Mustard Seed is powerful on multiple dimensions. The parable inspires hope among the disciples that Christ’s Kingdom will come despite starting small (Acts 1:15 numbers the disciples after Christ’s Ascension at only 120!). Like the mustard tree provides a home and savory seeds that feeds the birds, the Church will be home to multitudes (birds is an allusion to the Gentile nations), feeding them with most savory of food, the Eucharist. For the individual, the parable reveals that while most start with a small faith, with time and persistence of prayer (see Luke 11:1-13) every soul can grow into sainthood.

In The Parable of the Leaven, Christ reinforces the theme that the spread of the Kingdom of God is mysterious and far-reaching but reveals the transformational impact of the Word of God. Christ startles the audience with the women’s bread-making effort: 3 measures of meal weights over 90 pounds and would make dozens and dozens loaves of bread. In contrast, the weight of the yeast is negligible, and yet, it  leavens the massive amount of meal. So too, the Gospel (the leaven) systematically introduced into the world (meal) will be used by God to mysteriously raise men to becomes sons of the Kingdom of God.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ uses common themes (of trees, leaven) that were “planted” in the Old Testament. Divine Teacher, Christ reveals the Kingdom of Heaven with innovative parables that still draw men two millennia later.  Divine Prophet, Christ accurately describes the worldwide growth of the Church. Divine Leader, Jesus inspire His disciples with parables that instill lasting hope, overcoming uncertainty about the promise of the Kingdom.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) From the small band of only about 120 early disciples, the Church has over 1 billion members; there are another billion+ Christians who are not yet in full communion with Christ’s Church.  Marvel at Christ’s divine confidence and accurate prediction of a worldwide Church.

2) Dwelling on the spreading cultural decay and the turmoil and apostasy in the Church can lead to despair. Return to hope, holding firm to Christ’s promise that the Kingdom of Heaven continues to grow in mysterious ways.

3) Every Catholic man is called to be leaven, to be an evangelist for Christ, sharing His Word with the world. Pray for Christ to give you the wisdom, courage and perseverance to draw many in the world to Him.

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

Having explained the need for men to repent or perish and the need for men to be spiritually fruitful, Christ teaches about the sanctity of the Sabbath and the validity of performing works of mercy on the Sabbath.

As was His practice, Christ was teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath. A woman in the crowd was possessed by a demon (spirit of infirmary/bound by Satan) and severely crippled (she couldn’t stand upright) for 18 years. Seeing her, Christ said, “Woman, you are free from your infirmity” and laid His hands on her; she was instantaneously healed.

The ruler of the synagogue attempts to rebuke Christ, angrily asserting that healing is forbidden on the Sabbath; astonishing in his ignorance, the ruler is blind to both the miracle he has witnessed and that God Himself, the Creator of the Sabbath, is present in Christ. Christ forcefully rebukes and shames His adversaries, revealing their hypocrisy; they care for their beasts who might thirst on the Sabbath but would deny healing to one of their own sisters who has suffering for 18 years. The crowd rejoices at Christ’s miraculous healing.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ sees beyond the physical to the supernatural; He sees the demonic acts of Satan behind the woman’s physical infirmity.  Divine King, Christ is authoritative and combative, rebuking the ruler of the synagogue. Divine Physician, omnipotent, Christ has the ability to cast out demons and instantaneously heal.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) The Church’s teachings are increasingly being attacked but many Catholic men are afraid or don’t know how to respond. Reflect on Christ’s vigorous rebuke and manly defense of Truth and pray that He might help you to grow in knowledge of the faith and the fortitude to act when warranted.

2) Hope and optimism is often difficult for those who suffer from chronic illnesses. Pray for Christ’s mercy for those who suffer chronic illness and look for ways to help them (e.g. regular prayers, encouragement, care, financial support, etc.).

3) Today, many prefer pets to people; billions are spent on pets, people are opting to have pets instead of children, vast efforts are spent on “animal rights” while babies are being aborted, etc. In this reading, Christ confirms that compassion for humans is an infinitely higher priority than care for animals. Pray for Christ to help all people prioritize works of mercy for humans while treating animals with appropriate concern.

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

After warning the disciples of the coming apocalypse and urging them to persevere in prayer with the confidence that God will answer them, Christ explains the need for the compassionate love for others and humility in God’s economy of grace. The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector is outstanding model of the mindset that a man should have in prayer.

Christ address the parable towards men who consider themselves to be pious and who despise others for their sinfulness. In the parable, the Pharisee pridefully stands and prays to himself, boasting to God and exalting his many pious ways. The Pharisee brags that he exceeds the requirements of fasting (two times per week versus the required one) and tithing (tithing on everything, not just select items as specified by the Law). The Pharisee, under the guise of prayer, curses others who sin, lumping the Tax Collector in with extortioners, unjust and adulterers; The Pharisee claims that he is not like the other sinners. The Pharisee doesn’t love God or the Tax Collector; he loves himself.

In contrast, Christ holds up the Tax Collector as the model for prayer. The Tax Collector stands apart, aware of his own unworthiness, eyes downcast in sorrow and guilt, beats his chest (Greek word means, “to be reconciled”) in sorrow. His prayer is simple: “God, be merciful on me, a sinner.” Christ praises the Tax Collector’s prayer; it is humble, respectful, sorrowful for sin, acknowledges God’s dominion, mercy and power to forgive and begs for God’s mercy.  Christ omniously warns, those who exalts themselves will be humbled.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ reveals His knowledge of how God views the prayers of men; omniscient, Christ knows the inner lives of men. Divine King, Christ fearlessly rebukes the powerful Pharisees for their sinfulness. Divine Teacher, Christ teaches with parables that inspire and teach men.  Divine Priest, Christ teaches men how to pray. Divine Prophet, Christ reveals the truth to men, rebuking those who are self-righteous.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Marvel at how Christ’s mercy, which has infinite value, is available to any man who comes to Him in humble repentance. Go to Confession.

2) Today, pious Catholic men can become isolated and prideful in their attempts to keep God’s word, judging others who are mired in sin while not recognizing their own pious pride.  Reflect on this parable and ask Christ to give you greater humility. Commit to pray like the Tax Collector (humility, sorrowful, beating your chest, etc.) in Mass during the Confession of Sins.

3) In a culture that promotes public displays of self-pride (e.g. end zone “celebrations”, Facebook bragging, trash-talking, “pride” parades, etc.), the virtue of humility is seldom taught. Get a copy of “The Litany of Humility” by Cardinal Merry del Va and begin to pray it on a regular basis.

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