The Gospel reading from the Mass for Friday of the 26th Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 10:13-16.

As He prepares the 70 disciples to go and evangelize broadly, Christ gives prophetic warnings to those people and villages that reject His Gospel. Having used the destruction of Sodom as a warning, Christ now pronounces judgment on specific towns that have rejected Him. Christ’s words, which anticipate the rejection the disciples will experience, are also given to help them to persevere and endure.

Christ begins by rebuking Chorazin and Bethsaida, two towns within a few hours walk where Christ performed “mighty deeds” (both Divine preaching and healing miracles).  Because these towns remain unrepentant, Christ to expresses both anger and sorrow (“Woe”!) at their lukewarmness. Chorazin and Bethsaida were predominately Jewish towns that rejected the Messiah and bore great guilt; Christ promises that they will fare worse in the Judgment than the Gentile towns of Tyre and Sidon on which God had previously promised to bring down judgment (Isa 23:1-17; Jer 25:22). Christ has an even stronger rebuke for Capernaum where He based His Galilean mission and spent much time and performed mighty deeds; Capernaum will not be exalted in Heaven but will be cast into Hell.

Knowing the rejection the disciples will undoubtably face, Christ further encourages the 70 with the truth that God is being rejected, not them.  Disciples are speaking Christ and His word, so it is Christ and His Father (“Him who sent Me”) who are ultimately being rejected.

Awed by Jesus ChristPerson of the Trinity, Christ reveals the future state of whole groups of people who reject Him and the existence of Hell. Divine King, calls men, expects them to repent and seek holiness and offers harsh rebukes to those who ignore Him. Divine Judge, Christ refers to His Judgment and the truth that many will be cast into Hell.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Wanting to avoid the discomfort of proclaiming the truth, many cherry pick scripture to promote a false politically-correct Christ who ignores sin, makes no demands and forgives the unrepentant. To purge that blasphemy from your mind, re-read today’s Gospel, imaging that you are hearing Christ deliver this harsh condemnation.  Holy Fear is appropriate.

2) While most men would be extremely anxious at being hauled into court to face a human judge, few consider the Eternal Judge who has perfect knowledge of each man’s guilt. Reflect upon the truth that Christ will Judge the Living and the Dead (CCC 678-682, 1020-1022, 1038-1041) and pray for the Divine Judge to help you grow in holiness to prepare for your own imminent judgment.

2) Since Hell is seldom now preached, many Catholic men don’t believe Hell exists and that almost everyone gets to Heaven. Refresh your understanding of Hell (CCC 1033-1037, 1056-1057, 1861), realize that Hell is worse that anything you can imagine and  and pray for Christ to give you the Grace to repent, grow in holiness and to be saved from Hell.

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