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

The Gospel reading from the Mass for Sunday Cycle A of the 28th Week of Ordinary Time is Matthew 22:1-14.

Having violently cleared the His Father’s Temple of the disrespectful, Christ continues His confrontation with the Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes in the Parable of the Marriage Feast which intends to persuade and convert both His enemies and all men.

God the Father (the King) is pleased with His Son (Christ) and has joyously prepared a spectacular wedding feast (the eternal Eucharist in the Kingdom of Heaven/The Mass) for the bridegroom, His Son. Having invited His handpicked guests (Israel/current Catholics), the Father sends out prophets and evangelists (servants) to let men know the Heavenly feast is ready; men (previously invited guests) ignore God’s call. God, insulted but not angry, attempts again to invite His chosen men (sending out more servants) describing the great blessings (rich feast) to those who pursue Heaven (come to the feast).  Remarkably, many mock, reject and even react violently to the Father’s invitation: some are seduced by the world (their farm/business) while others, rebellious and mired in sin, murder God’s evangelists (killing the servants). God (the King), in righteous anger, responds by casting evil doers (murders) into Hell (burning of their cities).

Zealous for men to be saved, God (the King) tirelessly sends the Apostles (servants) to invite all men (at the crossroads/the good and the bad) to come to Heaven (the wedding feast). God judges (scrutinizes the guests for their wedding garments/the Judgment) and sends those who are in mortal sin/unrepentant (unworthy; without wedding garments) into Hell (darkness) for eternal punishment (weeping and gnashing of teeth).

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ gives an insight into the Kingdom of Heaven and reveals the sobering truth that many, many men will not be found worthy. Divine Mercy, Christ, addressing His enemies who wish to kill Him, offers them both a invitation and a warning.  Divine King, Christ is generous and patient and goes to extreme lengths to call men to His Kingdom. Divine Judge, Christ judges and gives harsh punishment to those who reject the Gospel and/or do evil. Divine Prophet, Christ’s parable foresees the rejection of the Gospel by many Jews and the stunning success in calling the Gentiles.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Since God created man, He has relentlessly called men to Himself. Reflect on how our Merciful God, despite the rejection of so many men, continues to tirelessly draw men (including you, personally) to Heaven.

2) To motivate men to follow Him, Christ describes both the blessings of Heaven (a King’s wedding feast) and the torment of Hell (darkness, weeping, gnashing of teeth). Refresh your understanding of Heaven and Hell (CCC 1023-1029, 1033-1037) and pray for Christ to give you the grace to seek Heaven with all your heart, soul, strength and mind (Luke 10:27).

3) In Christ’s parable, the king casts the man lacking a “wedding garment” at the wedding fast into the darkness (Hell); Christ is warning men to not presume to approach Him in the Eucharist in a unworthy way. Reflect on the need to Prepare for Reception of the Eucharist (CCC 1385-1390) and pray for Christ to help you worthily prepare for every Mass through prayer, repentance, Confession, good deeds, respectful dress and a sense of awe to be in His Presence.

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 Saturday of the 27th Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 11:27-28.

After Christ firmly rebukes some who ridiculously accused Him of working with Satan, a women from the crowd loudly exclaims, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!” This spontaneous cry reflects the overpowering wisdom, power and handsome attractiveness of Christ Jesus, the King of the Universe. The woman is emotionally overwhelmed by Him and cannot help but shout out in adoration.

Embedded in the cry of glory in response to Christ Jesus is the woman’s great respect for the mother who bore, nurtured and raised Christ.  Our Lady is being honored by a woman who perhaps was a mother herself.

Christ emphatically responds: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” As the Gospels record elsewhere (Luke 8:20-21), Christ uses references to His mother, the Virgin Mary, in ways that initially might appear to be demeaning; here, Christ does not directly acknowledge the Blessedness of the Virgin, but points the crowd to become blessed by hearing and doing God’s will. Perhaps Christ is veiling the modesty and anonymity of the Virgin (which the “Handmaid of God” would have certainly preferred) and protecting her from idolization, exploitation or attack: Christ certainly learned how to revere and protect the Blessed Virgin from His earthly father, St. Joseph.  While mysterious, Christ exalts the Virgin Mary, for she without sin perfectly hears and does God’s will in becoming Christ’s mother and by raising Him with St. Joseph. The Church has always recognized Christ’s response as the highest of praise of the Virgin Mary.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ’s glory shines through, causing men and women to recognize the great blessing of His presence. Son of Man, Christ, in His masculinity, has a compelling and charismatic personal presence. Son of the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, Christ demonstrates His reverence and seeks to protect His mother.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Christ has often been portrayed as a doe-eyed “lady with a beard” who wears rouge on His cheeks; these feminized images of Jesus are blasphemous lies. Christ, the Lion of Judah was a masculine warrior King, who humbles men and causes women to cry out with joy in His presence. Reflect on the Infinite masculine attractiveness of Christ our King.

2) Because the Immaculate Conception was born without sin (CCC 490-493), the Blessed Virgin Mary is the only human who has ever perfectly heard and done the God’s will. Reflect on the perfection of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Perfect Obedience (CCC 144, 148-149, 490, 494, 2617) and pray for the Blessed Virgin to pray for your continual conversion and that you grow in obedience.

3) Christ reveals that those who hear and do God’s will are “blessed.”  Reflect on God’s Will (CCC 51, 294-295, 541, 2059, 2822) and the Responsibility of Free Will (CCC 1730-1748) and pray for Christ to help you to use your free will to more completely hear and do His Will.

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 27th Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 11:15-26.

After preaching about the need for men to pray with perseverance and promising that God will answer prayers, Christ demonstrates the power of God by miraculously casting a demon out of a mute man.  While the people marvel, some murmured among themselves, absurdly accusing Christ as colluding with Beelzebul; “Beelzebul” was a derogatory term (“Lord of Dung”) used by the Jews for the false god of the Philistines, who in reality is Satan.  With this slur, the scoffers attempt to denigrate both the miracle and the Son of Man.

Christ, with omniscience, knows their hidden evil thoughts and decisively rebukes them.  Revealing the absurdity of their murmured charge, Christ exposes their illogical accusation by pointing out that Satan does not attack Satan. Turning their attack back on His accusers, Christ demonstrates that their own (your sons) purport to cast out demons and so, using their attack, must also be in league with Satan.

Christ mysteriously reveals His divinity and His triumph in the Spiritual Combat. Satan (strong man), who is powerful (strong, has amor), guards those he has corrupted (his goods) by enticements to sin.  Christ (One stronger) assails (casts out demons) and disarms Satan (takes away armor), setting sinners free to be judged (divided) by Christ. Christ warns that every man must choose to be either with Christ or against Christ (and with Satan). Men who have been liberated by Christ of sins/demons, must give themselves fully to Christ or, in their emptiness, be repossessed by sin/demons.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ confirms the existence and evil action of Satan in the world and some of the behaviors of demons who prowl the world. Christ is omniscience and “knows” the thoughts of men. Omnipotent, Christ’s miracles reveal that in Him is the “finger of God.”  Divine King, Christ rebukes His would-be attackers and challenges men to choose sides; either the Kingdom of Heaven or the kingdom of Satan. He easily exposes the lack of logic in the minds of His enemies. Divine Teacher, Christ reveals truths about the demonic using memorable examples (“the strong man”).

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1)  Since Eden, men’s sinfulness has been exploited by Satan to tempt them to rebel against God. Be awed by Christ’s absolute and embarrassing rebukes of rebellious men and His complete domination of Satan.

2) Christ’s warning that division brings collapse (v. 17) is apparent as there are many “Cafeteria Catholics”, including even powerful clergy, who pick and choose what they will accept of the Church’s teaching; this division has led to a accelerating collapse of the Church in many parts of the world. Renew your understanding that there is Only One Truth (CCC 172-175) that is preserved in the Magisterium of the Church (CCC 84-100, 888-892, 2032-2040) and pray for Christ to help you remain unified in the fullness of truth of Christ.

3) Men are built for combat and Christ uses militaristic (strong man, armor, spoils, etc.) terms to call men to the Spiritual Battle (or Spiritual Combat).  Recommit to the Spiritual Battle (CCC 405-409, 1426, 1707, 2015, 2516) and pray for Christ to arm and help you protect your family against the relentless attacks of Satan.

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