The Gospel reading from the Mass for Monday of the 16th Week of Ordinary Time is Matthew 12:38-42.

The Pharisees, who had schemed to “utterly destroy” Christ because they believed Him to be a fraud, now attack with the help of the scribes (scripture experts). They duplicitously address Christ as “Teacher” and ask Him for a “sign.”  Ironically, blinded by their hatred, they fail to see the most Perfect Sign, Jesus Christ, is standing before them.

As usual, Christ sees through the evil schemes of the men He created. Rather than prove Himself again (Matt 9:33; 12:33), Christ blasts His enemies, calling them an “evil and adulterous generation” (Greek).  To the learned Pharisees and scribes, Christ has given a stunning and violent rebuke; Christ judges the Pharisees and scribes 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 long-awaited promised Messiah) and that He is greater than the great prophet Jonah; cryptically, Christ prophetically reveals that He will be entombed for 3 days/nights in the earth, like Jonah was entombed in the whale. Referring to Solomon, Israel’s second greatest king after King David, Christ claims to be greater. Christ also infuriates the Pharisees and scribes by pronouncing the pagan men of Nivea who repented at Jonah’s preaching and the pagan queen of the South (Sheba) who came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, would condemn them.

Awed by Jesus Christ – Author of Scripture and Divine Prophet, Christ uses Scripture to teach, rebuke His enemies and to reveal His Divinity. Divine King, Christ is fearless and combative with His enemies even though they are actively attempting to kill Him. Son of Man, Christ demonstrates the power of righteous indignation for those who attack God.  Divine Judge, Christ warns of the coming Judgment and that the evil will be condemned.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Reflect on how easily Jesus Christ smashes His enemies and take comfort that despite the growing evil chaos in the world today, no one can prevail against Christ and His Kingdom.

2) In a rebuke to those who disbelieve, Christ says “no sign shall be given… except the sign of the prophet Jonah” (His Resurrection). Reflect on Christ’s Revelation of the Resurrection (CCC 992-996) and pray for Christ to lead you to unshakeable faith and hope because of His Resurrection.

3) Like Christ, Catholic men face unbelievers and the doubtful who have incomplete or confused understanding of the faith. Reflect on the Spiritual Works of Mercy (CCC 2447) and pray for Christ to help you offer compelling witness to the doubtful and ignorant (A Spiritual Work of Mercy).

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