After sending the imprisoned John the Baptist a message via the Baptist’s disciples confirming that He is the Messiah, Christ applauds the Baptist’s greatness to the crowd. Many rejoice for they had been baptized by John; the Pharisees and lawyers grumble and reject Christ for they had not been baptized.

As He often does, Christ publicly rebukes the Pharisees, but uses veiled terms to confound their short-term plans to kill Him. Humiliating them by comparing full-grown men to pouting little children who play yelling games in the marketplace, Christ speaks of His joyous message (“We piped for you…”) that His enemies reject (“you did not dance”) and the Baptist’s call to repentance (“we wailed”) that His enemies also reject (“did not mourn”).

Jesus reiterates His point about the childish and evil behavior of the Jewish elites by getting specific.  While John is an ascetic who fasts and eats little, the Jewish leaders accuse the Baptist as being possessed by a demon. When Jesus does the opposite of John by eating with sinners, the Jewish leaders accuse Him of being a glutton and drunkard (a slanderous lie). Christ ends with this: Wisdom (Jesus Christ Himself is wisdom) is justified (proven true as the Messiah) by all her children (those who repent, are baptized and follow Christ).

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ is the Messiah who is Perfect Wisdom.  Divine King, Christ courageously and slyly rebukes the Pharisees for their unbelief in veiled ways that thwarts their efforts to accuse Him. Divine Prophet, Christ uses poetic language that draws on the Old Testament (e.g. personifying Wisdom) and reveals His identity in mysterious ways.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Men respect men who can stand up under pressure and respond vigorously to attacks (cage matches, political debates,etc.).  Marvel at how Christ is able to immediately respond in ways that confound His enemies and that build off events real time. Imagine being present to watch Christ frustrate and embarrass those who attack Him.

2) There are many false Christianities (e.g. the so-called prosperity gospel, nobody goes to Hell, Jesus is all Mercy and no Truth, etc.) which require little self-examination and amendment but falsely promise all the blessings of Christ. The true Gospel, preserved by His Church, makes is clear that men must repent (“to wail”) to be able to encounter Christ’s joy (“to pipe”). Examine your conscience, repent, go to Confession and experience the joy of Christ’s Divine Mercy.

3) Some men overdo physical fitness while others party or eat their way into obesity. Reflect on Christ’s example that combines both asceticism (John the Baptist’s self-denial) and enjoyment (Christ’s joyful feasting) and pray for God to help you find balance in your life.

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