The Gospel reading from the Mass for Friday of the 20th Week of Ordinary Time is Matthew 22:34-40.

In response to many attacks, Christ engaged the Sadducees and Pharisees with both aggressiveness and mercy, seeking to enlighten their dark minds, even as they attempt to find a way to kill HIm. The Sadducees, rather than being astonished by Christ’s truth, are unable to successfully argue theologically or with reason and slink away to scheme in silence with the Pharisees, a Satanic marriage of evil; they clearly hate each other but hate Christ even more.

They send a Pharisee lawyer, an expert in Jewish law, to test (the Greek word used can also mean “to put on trial”) Christ, seeking some error they can exploit; it is clearly a trap for an “expert in law” does not need input from an itinerant preacher. The lawyer addresses Jesus as “teacher” which attempts to flatter but has an air of sneering contempt, asking “which is the greatest commandment?”; with the complexity of 613 Jewish laws, the lawyer thinks he can twist Jesus’s words to accuse Him of something, no matter what He answers.

Christ’s answer is Perfection, the Divine Truth leaves the lawyer no ability to attack. The Son of God, with the Father from the beginning, inspired Scripture and brilliantly synthesizes all the laws into “loving God” (Deut 6:5) and “love of neighbor” (Lev 19:18). Rather than simply answer the question, Christ deliberately responds with “You shall love the Lord your God…”, speaking as God personally to the lawyer (“You”) to touch his conscience; ironically the lawyer who purports to uphold the law is breaking the law with his attacks on the Son of God. Christ’s brilliant formulation is the foundation for the Catholic faith.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God and Son of Man, Christ’s infinite wisdom and powerful and persuasive personality silences the most learned men. Divine Teacher, Christ is able to understand and lead His audience to truth.  Divine King, Christ dominates all would-be subjects who seek to test Him.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Men revere geniuses, those few humans who stumble upon some breakthrough new insight in science, the arts or business. Reflect on the omniscient Son of God who demonstrates His Divine Genius through the first-ever synthesis of the massive Jewish legal tangle into the Two Great Commandments.  Be awed.

2) Like the despicable expert in the law deceptively attempts to use flattery and trickery to trap Christ, many today attempt to dominate others by deceit. Review Offenses Against Truth (CCC 2475-2487) and pray for Christ to always help you refrain from flattery and calumny and keep the 9th Commandment.

3) Men like logic and to discover how things work; many flounder at trying to come up with a “logic of life”, a “code to live by.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church is one of the most remarkable books ever written, the synthesis of the Church’s two thousand year meditation on Christ’s Gospel. Review the Prologue of the Catechism (CCC 1-25) and pray for Christ to help you come to know Him better by persevering in the study of your Catholic faith in the Catechism.

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