The Gospel reading from the Mass for Wednesday of the 26th Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 9:57-62.

Having completed His work in Galilee, Christ “sets His face” in steely determination and begins the heroic ascent to Jerusalem where He will proclaim Truth, suffer on the Cross, arise in the Resurrection and be “taken up” in triumph in the Ascension.

Christ calls for exclusive and absolute commitment of those who seek Heaven. He warns one enthusiastic man who makes a impulsive promise to Christ to “follow  you wherever You go” to expect extreme hardship as a disciple (i.e. nowhere to lay one’s head). After calling one man to “Follow me”, the man pleads with Christ to allow him to fulfill the sacred duty of burying his father; Christ offers a blunt and highly provocative rebuke (i.e. let the dead bury the dead) to make clear the the urgent and more sacred commitment of a Christian.

Another man, with great respect (calls Jesus, “Lord”), promises to follow Jesus, but requests permission to bid his family farewell. Christ makes clear that those who weakly long for their old life (i.e. look back) are not worthy of the manly vocation (i.e. the plow) of being Christ’s disciple or the Kingdom of Heaven. Christ’s requirement for this kind of absolute commitment and obedience is stunning; it exceeds the demands of the Old Testament prophet Elijah who allowed his disciple Elisha to say goodbye to his parents (1 Kings 19:19-21).

Awed by Jesus ChristDivine King, Christ firmly rebukes overzealous or lukewarm men and demands absolute and exclusive commitment.  Divine Teacher, Christ knows that lukewarmness kills men and firmly teaches men the truth about discipleship.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Men look up to hard and demanding leaders who command respect and “set the bar high.” Reflect on Christ’s demanding expectations and no-nonsense approach to challenging men to discipleship.

2) Millions of Catholic men have not made the “100% all in” commitment that Christ demands; Christ makes it clear that they are not “fit for the Kingdom of God.”  Renew your understanding of the grave sin of Acedia/Sloth (CCC 1866, 2094, 2733) and pray for Christ to make you “on-fire” to draw many men to Him.

3) Christ’s provocative “Let the dead bury the dead” is not rejection of Christian burial, but a emphatic command to put discipleship above all other things. Review the importance duty to Bury the Dead (CCC 1680-1690, 2300-2301, 2447) and pray for Christ to help you to fulfill your responsibility to bury the dead consistent with Catholic teachings and to never sin by disrespecting the body (e.g. scattering ashes).

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Glorious Mysteries

Daily Devotion – Saint Joseph

Virtue of the Day – Temperance

Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the imprisoned

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To comfort the sorrowful