The Gospel reading from the Mass for Friday of the 15th Week of Ordinary Time is Matthew 12:1-8.

After promising rest for the burdened (Matt 11:28-29), Christ now turns to the importance of the Sabbath as a day of rest and mercy. Christ is directly accused by the Pharisees for breaking the law because His disciples plucked grain to eat on the Sabbath. The Pharisees, in their self-reliant attempts to achieve holiness to gain God’s favor, had extended the ritual laws of Moses that forbid harvesting grain on the Sabbath to include even plucking grain by the hungry.

Christ humiliates (“Have you not read”) the prideful Pharisees with a harsh rebuke that exposes their lack of understanding of Scripture by offering two examples (i.e. David’s men ate showbread; priests were guiltless for handling the bread of Presence). Remarkably, Christ offers a sign of His Eucharist in this encounter by references to grain/bread: the plucking of grain; the mention of showbread and priests who profane (a reference to the bread of Presence). Christ further humiliates the Pharisees for their lack of Scripture knowledge by quoting, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” and also rebukes them for their false condemnation of His disciples.

Christ mysteriously disclosures His Divinity in this encounter. His assertion that “something greater than the Temple is here” is a history upending claim.  The Jewish belief was that the Temple housed God Himself and the ritual sacrificial system in the Temple that relieved sin dated back over a thousand years to Moses. Christ makes another shocking proclamation of His Divinity: “The Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath.”

Awed by Jesus ChristPerson of the Trinity, Christ is the author of God’s laws passed down in Scripture. Son of God, Christ asserts His Divinity.  Divine Prophet, Christ teaches through powerful events which reveal the astonishing truth of the Eucharist and the ending of Jewish religious practices that stood for over a thousand years. Divine King and Teacher, Christ speaks with authority, rebuking the powerful Pharisees and correcting their misinterpretation of Scripture.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) While Christ is Divine Mercy, He was also tough-minded and combative when confronting evil or falsehood and fearless in His public rebuke of the powerful. Be impressed by Christ’s powerful and combative character.

2) The Church calls all Catholics to draw close to Christ in the Eucharist on Sunday. Recall that Catholics are obligated (i.e. must do to avoid a state of mortal sin – CCC 2181) to attend Mass every Sunday (CCC 2041, 2177-2183) and commit to never fail in your Sunday obligation to Christ.

3) For many, Sunday is only a weekend day of relaxation or another work day. Reflect on the 3rd Commandment and the need to Keep Sunday Holy (CCC 2168-2176, 2184-2188) and pray for Christ to help you always set aside Sunday to honor and serve Him.

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