The Gospel reading from the Mass for Tuesday of the 26th Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 9:51-56.

After His several-year missionary campaign in Galilee and elsewhere, Christ turns toward His Holy city of Jerusalem to be “received up”; this refers to His glorious entry into Jerusalem, His proclamations in the Temple, His Passion, Resurrection and Ascension. Christ “set His face” to go to Jerusalem, a steely determination to do the Father’s will which echoes Isaiah’s prophecy that the Suffering Servant will set his “face like flint” against his enemies (Isa 50:7).

Christ leads and directs His men, sending an advance party to a Samaritan village to prepare for His arrival. Samaritans had Jewish roots but had intermingled with pagan religions; Samaritans and Jews had great animosity against each other. Because of Christ’s known plan of going to Jerusalem, the Samaritans refuse to receive Him. The Samaritans, perhaps inspired by Satan, offer opposition to Christ’s mission. Christ is undeterred and goes instead to a different village.

The Apostles James and John (with Peter, they are Christ’s core team) are called the “Sons of Thunder” by Christ Himself (Mark 3:17); they ask Christ if they should call down fire from Heaven to destroy the Samaritans. Remarkably, something in Christ’s own demeanor causes them to assume that He might destroy a city, that He has the power to do so and that they can share in that supernatural power. Christ rebukes them: He did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ’s life and Passion is revealed to the Prophet Isaiah 700 years before the Incarnation. Son of Man, Christ is zealous and has a powerful personality that is combative. Divine King, Christ directs His disciples to take action in specific ways and delegates authority. He forcefully rebukes His followers when needed. Divine Mercy, Christ’s love for men is absolute and He wishes that all men might be saved.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1)  The presentation of a false “cuddly” Christ to modern men has left many unconvinced and bored. Marvel at how highly combative and strong men (the “Sons of Thunder”!) give themselves to Christ and that Christ’s fiery disposition leads them to assume (falsely) that Christ would call down fire in judgment.

2) There is a tendency for some Catholic men to be “Sons of Thunder”, men, perhaps filled with righteous anger, who want to attack those who oppose Christ. Reflect on Christ’s rebuke of James and John and the need to Safeguard Peace (CCC 2302-2306; see also Matt 5:21-26) and pray for Christ to help you avoid sinful anger and to grow in peace.

3) While Christ rebukes James and John for their angry desire to “bid down fire” to destroy the Samaritans, elsewhere, Christ exhibits righteous anger (In clearing the Temple, in confrontations with Pharisees). Review the Morality of the Passions (CCC 1762-1775) and pray for Christ to help you grow in virtue so as to appropriately use your passions to serve Him.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Guardian Angels

Virtue of the Day – Justice

Corporal Work of Mercy – To clothe the naked

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To counsel the doubtful