The Gospel reading from the Mass for Saturday of the 15th Week of Ordinary Time is Matthew 12:14-21.

After being humiliated by Christ’s rebukes for their evil attacks (Matt 12:1-13), the cowardly Pharisees, unwilling to engage Christ in honest debate, are filled with venomous anger and take “counsel” with themselves and scheme in secrecy to “utterly destroy” (Greek) Jesus.  Mysteriously knowing their secret schemes, Christ withdraws, not in failure or cowardice, but in the fullness of power of the Son of Man to pick when and where He will achieve His Passion.

Rather than hiding, Christ continues to establish His Kingdom by drawing a large following and mercifully healing of all who seek Him. Unlike the attention-seeking of the prideful Pharisees, Christ demonstrates humility by forbidding His disciples from making Him known, temporarily avoiding the worldwide proclamation of the Gospel.

Matthew’s reference to Isaiah’s 700 hundred year-old prophecy is powerful assurance of Christ’s total victory. Remarkably, “servant” can also be translated as “son”, a reference to the Son of God who becomes the “Suffering Servant”. God’s voice, speaking through Isaiah, calls the servant “beloved”, the same word the Father says about the Son in the Baptism and the Transfiguration.  Christ’s withdrawal, rather than defeat, is a preparation for the expansion of His Kingdom to all nations (i.e. the Gentiles).

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ omnisciently knows the hidden murderous intent of the Pharisees and effortlessly withdraws to safety, postponing the confrontation with the Pharisees until it suits Him (Matt 23). The Perfection of Virtue, Christ demonstrates prudence and temperance (restraint, patience) in His interactions with the Pharisees. The Divine Prophet, Christ not only inspires Isaiah to speak about Him, He fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy. Divine Physician, Jesus heals all who seek His Mercy.  Divine King, Jesus expands His Kingdom beyond the Chosen People to all people.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Seven hundred years ago is a long, long time; for perspective, 700 years ago the world was the Middle Ages. Re-read Isaiah’s 700 year-old prophecy about Christ from today’s Gospel and marvel at how perfectly He fulfills the prophecy He inspired Isaiah to write. Christ fulfills all prophecy (CCC 601, 652, 713).

2) Like the Pharisees, many men falsely believe their “private” thoughts and behaviors are actually private; they are not. Reflect on Christ’s absolute omniscience and knowledge of each man’s Private Lives (CCC 473, 682) and pray for Christ to help you to do a thorough Examination of Conscience. Go to Confession to confess mortal and venial sins.

3) In the Spiritual Combat, Satan relentlessly attacks Catholic men, seeking to provoke them into losing battles (e.g. arguing with evil internet trolls, debating with better-prepared atheists, emotionally and/or violently responding to evil injustice, etc.); Satan purposefully uses these tactics to discourage or draw men into evil reactions.  Reflect on Christ’s prudent temporary withdrawal and pray for Him to give you patience and wisdom to know when to fight and when to withdraw.

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