The Gospel reading from the Mass for Friday of the 28th Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 12:1-7.

Following His devastating critique and the announcement of the curses coming to the unrepentant Pharisees and scribes, massive crowds follow Christ, longing to hear and be healed by Him; many thousands of people are so frenzied and numerous that “they trod upon one another.”

Christ sums up the controlling weakness of the Pharisees as their hypocrisy. The word “hypocrite” has Greek roots which mean to be a “stage actor” or “pretender”; the Pharisees and scribes pretended to be holy but were not. Christ (God) has intimate knowledge of every man and sees through the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and scribes. He warns that the Pharisees’ hypocrisy permeates (like leaven spreads throughout dough) all their teachings and corrupts all their followers.

Christ urges His disciples to not cower in the darkness because the Pharisees can only kill the body. Instead, Christ warns that God should be feared; He is all powerful, all knowing and can condemn the soul in eternity to Hell. The disciples should be courageous for Christ reveals that light of the Gospel will be proclaimed everywhere. He promises that God, who has dominion over Heaven and Hell, knows everything (the hairs on a man’s head) and will remember and protect the disciples when they are zealous and unafraid in proclaiming Gospel. Christ promises that men are of great value and that God will take care of them.

Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of God, Christ describes His Father based on first hand Divine knowledge, reiterates the reality of Hell and the truth about the Judgment. Perfection of Virtue, Christ exhorts the disciples to be courageous. Divine Judge, Christ warns that He acknowledges men who acknowledge Him and deny men who deny Him. Divine King, Christ exhorts men to be fearless in battle and promises to protect them.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Spurred on by pervasive media, men flock to sporting, entertainment and politics events. Marvel at the Divine Charisma of Christ which spurs word-of-mouth excitement and draws thousands upon thousands to undertake arduous travel and tough conditions to see Him.

2) Reflect on the truth that the God has intimate knowledge and love for you personally. Renew your understanding of having Personal Relationship with God (CCC 35, 37, 299, 2558) and pray for Christ to help you draw closer to Him as your King and Savior.

3) Many Catholic men fail to condemn sin because they fear being labeled a “hater” (or misogynist, homophobic, Islamaphobic, racist) but have lost the healthy fear of God; Christ explicitly says, “fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!” Renew your understanding the essential need for Holy Fear (CCC 1041, 1303, 1831, 1845) and pray for Christ to help you have holy fear and trust in His mercy.

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 28th Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 11:47-54.

Christ continues His condemnation of the hostile Pharisees and lawyers with a series of “woes”; “Woes” are a declaration of doom, curses that warn the unrepentant of God’s coming judgment.

Christ rebukes the Pharisees for hypocrisy and pride because they falsely honored the prophets, claiming  they would not have killed the prophets as their fathers had; Christ (the Divine Prophet) condemns their lies, knowing that the Pharisees will successfully carry out their schemes to kill Him.  Ominously, Christ warns that the current generation will bear the bloodguilt of all the murdered prophets; as the Son of God, His murder at their hands will confirm their guilt and Christ confirms that justice “shall be required of this generation”;  within a generation, Christ’s prophecy will be fulfilled as hundreds of thousands of Jews are killed and Jerusalem is demolished by the Romans in A.D. 70.

Christ again (v. 45) condemns the lawyers, this time of taking away the “key to knowledge”; Christ exposes the lawyers’ manipulative practice of keeping Scriptures locked up, restricting access to keep control of what men were allowed to hear. Now exposed, the Pharisees and lawyers begin to relentlessly attack Christ, seeking to build evidence against Him; ironically, this validates Christ’s revelation of their evil.

Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of God, Christ has perfect knowledge of the inner evil motives of the Pharisees and lawyers and their future evil acts. Divine Prophet and Judge, Christ condemns their evil intentions and foresees the burden the generation will bear for His murder.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Christ knows the Pharisees are scheming to murder Him. Reflect on Christ’s impressive courage, that despite the powerful Pharisees’ plans, He harshly condemns them publicly, in the home of a Pharisee (Luke 11:37).

2) Christ condemns the Pharisees for failing to pass along the truth to the people; sadly, vast numbers of Catholics today do not know the faith. Renew your personal commitment to Catechesis (CCC 4-9, 426, 983, 1095, 2688), relying on the Truth that resides in the Magisterium (CCC 84-100), and ask Christ to help you grow in knowledge of the faith and to teach others.

3) Unlike Christ, many Catholics are afraid to loudly condemn the sins being promoted in the increasingly perverted society and to defend the truth of the Catholic faith. Renew your understanding of your obligation to Defend the Faith (CCC 1285, 1303) and pray for Christ to strengthen you to avoid the cowardliness of political correctness and to be able to effectively proclaim His Truth.

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 the Feast of St. Luke is Luke 10:1-9.

Having sent out His 12 Apostles on a similar mission (Luke 9:1-6), Christ commissions an expanded group of 70 disciples on a second wave of evangelization.  Christ’s decision to send 70 is prophetic: Moses appointed 70 elders (Num 11:24-25); Genesis describes the all the ancient world as 70 nations (Gen 10) which Jesus will later command to be evangelized (Matt 24:47).

Christ confidently directs His 70 men with precise instructions: He warns of attacks on evangelists (the wolves) and that people and whole cities will reject the Gospel, resulting in their doom (v. 12; see also v. 13-16); He tells disciples to go in poverty (no purse, bag, sandals) and to rely on charity, establishing a firm base in each town with one receptive host; He directs them to perform miracles by healing the sick and then to reveal that the Kingdom of God has drawn near to them.

St. Luke was a Roman citizen who was trained as a physician and was a disciple of St. Paul (Phil 1:24, Col 4:14, 2Tim 4:11) who experienced the many persecutions of Paul and cared for him during imprisonment. Charged by Paul to write an account of the Gospel and early Church, Luke was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles (about a quarter of the New Testament). Using the discipline of a physician, St. Luke carefully incorporated existing Gospel accounts (Matthew) as well as eyewitnesses (including the Blessed Virgin Mary, Peter, Paul). St. Luke died of old age and his relics continue to be venerated at  St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague and several other places.

Awed by Jesus ChristPerson of the Trinity, the Son of God establishes and perfects models (i.e. “70”) in Salvation History. Almighty King and Lord, Christ grants authority and decisively directs His men to fight for His Kingdom in the Spiritual Combat against Satan; He grants the power to perform miraculous healing; He gives precise and directive instructions as to the mindset and tactics the Apostles are to use.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1)  Christ’s call of St. Luke is Divine Genius: as a physician, Luke sustains Paul by caring for his injuries and ailments; Luke’s physician training prepares him to write a systematic and disciplined account; Luke incorporates the Blessed Virgin’s accounts of Christ’s early life and first hand accounts of Peter’s and Paul’s establishment of the early Church; as a Greek, Luke is able to write in a way that non-Jews will be able to understand. Reflect on Christ’s excellent decision to call Luke.

2) Like 70 disciples, Luke was a zealous missionary witness. Renew your understanding of the duty to be a Missionary Witness (CCC 2044-2051) and the need for Zeal (CCC 584, 824, 2004, 2750) and pray for Christ to fill you and all Catholic men with missionary zeal.  St. Luke, pray for us!

3) In the day-to-day battle of life, men can forget about the powerful champions Christ has given men in the Saints. Renew your understanding of the Communion of the Saints (CCC 946-962, 2683) and pray for Christ to help you to be strengthened by your Patron Saint(s) (CCC 2165, 2156) and those Saints who can help you prevail over your life challenges.

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 of the 28th Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 11:37-41.

After chastising the crowds for being “an evil and adulterous generation” and exhorting them to seek holiness that lights the body, Christ is invited to dine with a a Pharisee at his home. Aware of the Pharisees’ rejection of His Gospel and their corrupt hypocrisy, Christ knows the Pharisee is seeking to trap Him in some legal error.

Christ does not ritually wash His hands prior to the meal in opposition to the strict legalistic (not hygienic) ritual of the Pharisees; this is purposefully provocative, for Christ is not seeking to avoid the Pharisees’ traps but is there to denounce their sinfulness and man-made rituals. When the Pharisee reacts with inner condemnation because Christ did not wash His hands, He begins a scathing rebuke targeted at the scribes and Pharisees.

Christ indicts the Pharisees’ attempts to adhere to outer acts of piety (clean the outside of the cup) while evilly plotting in their hearts to steal (rapacity/greed, extortion). Spectacularly impolite, Christ calls the Pharisees “fools” for their ignorance of God’s gift of the soul and the need for inner holiness. Christ directs the Pharisees to unselfishly give alms to the poor in penance for one’s sinful thoughts and deeds to become pure of heart.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ has knowledge of the hidden inner thoughts of the Pharisees.  Divine King, Christ denounces the Pharisees in strong terms, calling them extortionists, wicked and fools. Divine Teacher, Christ gives definitive critique of the failures of the Pharisees and right practice, using memorable imagery (the dirty cup).

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Reflect on Christ’s manly combative nature to confront evil and His willingness to use scathing words that combine both accusation and humor.

2) Christ does not condemn the importance of Sacramentals; rather, He condemns the Pharisees’ lack of love. Renew your understanding of Sacramentals (CCC 1667-1673, 1677-1678) and pray for Christ to help you to make use of Sacramentals (blessings with the Sign of the Cross, Holy Water, laying on of hands) to offer blessings to your spouse, children and others.

3) Christ also does not condemn acts of popular piety. Renew your understanding of Popular Piety (CCC 1674-1676, 1679) and pray for Christ to help build a consistent practice of praying the Rosary and to develop a deep devotion to St. Joseph, adding the Prayer to St. Joseph to your Rosary  (see the Encyclical, Quamquam Pluries).

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 of the 28th Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 11:29-32.

After mysteriously exalting the Virgin Mary and the blessedness of those who hear and do God’s will, Christ offers a prophetic proclamation of His divinity. Great crowds surround Him and He perceives that they are seeking a “sign”; they fail to see the most Perfect Sign, Jesus Christ, is standing before them.

Christ blasts the crowd’s worldly curiosity, calling them an “evil and adulterous generation” (Greek). This is a stunning and violent rebuke; it judges the crowd to be as bad as the faithless Jews who were excluded from the Promised Land by God (Deut 1:35; 32:5; 29:1-3).

Continuing to refer to Scripture, Christ now makes astounding claims about Himself and His enemies. He reveals that He is the Son of Man (the promised Messiah) and that He is greater than the great prophet Jonah; cryptically, Christ reveals that He will be entombed for 3 days/nights in the earth, like Jonah was entombed in the whale. Referring to Israel’s second greatest king, Solomon, Christ claims to be greater. Christ greatly insults the Jews by revealing that the pagan men of Nivea and the pagan queen of the South, would condemn them.

Awed by Jesus Christ – As the Author of Scripture, the Divine Prophet uses Scripture to teach, rebuke His enemies and to reveal His Divinity. Divine King, Christ is fearless and combative, prepared to confront the idle curiosity and false faith of the crowds. Son of Man, Christ demonstrates the power of righteous indignation for those who take God for granted.  Divine Judge, Christ warns of the coming Judgment and that the evil will be condemned.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) In the technology-driven consumerism of today, men are mesmerized by the latest “shiny thing”; the awe of the ancient is being lost. Reflect on Christ’s drawing on Salvation History (some 1000 years previously) from the Old Testament (which He inspired to be written!) and how He surpasses all human expectations of greatness.

2) Shocking to some, Christ’s condemnation of the “evil generation” points to the truth that whole societies can become perverted; we are living in a time when society becoming increasingly evil. Review the Communal Character of the Human Vocation (CCC 1878-1896) and pray for Christ to use you to help in the conversion of society, beginning with your family, parish and city.

3) Christ uses the truth of Scripture (Jonah, Solomon) to explain that the holiness of the past has not been passed along to the current generation. Reflect upon The Transmission of Divine Revelation (CCC 74-100) and pray for Christ to help you grow in wisdom of the faith and to evangelize society.

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