The Gospel reading from the Mass for Friday of the 30th Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 14:1-6.

After rebuking the Pharisees who try to manipulate Him into fleeing, Christ accepts the invitation for a Sabbath feast from a prominent Pharisee, knowing that many Pharisees are there hoping to catch Him in some error. Christ can not be fooled: the Pharisees, with lawyers present to witness,  “plant” a man with dropsy (a terrible illness in which the limbs and torso are enlarged with fluid). The Pharisees’ believed the man’s dropsy was caused by his sinfulness and that they they had a no-lose trap set: if Jesus heals the sinful man on the Sabbath, it is unlawful and they can accuse Him; if Jesus does not heal the man, they can say Christ doesn’t have the power to heal the man.

Immediately going on the offensive, Christ begins by provocatively asking the Pharisees and lawyers if it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath. When the Pharisees refuse to answer, Christ takes the man with dropsy, laying His hands on him, and miraculously cures him.

Knowing that the Pharisees and lawyers may try to twist His act of charity, Christ offers them an explanation that exposes their shabby thinking and hypocrisy. Christ challenges His adversaries with a direct question:  “Which of you, having an ass (other ancient manuscripts say “son”) or an ox that has fallen into a well, will not immediately pull him out on a sabbath day?” The Pharisees unable to respond without admitting defeat, remain silent.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ asserts His dominion over the Sabbath. Son of Man, Christ boldly and fearlessly confronts the Pharisees and the lawyers. Divine Teacher, Christ has a keen eye for men’s behaviors and sins and offers clear direction to help men become holy. Divine Physician, Christ miraculously heals a man of dropsy, an incurable disease at that time.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Men are impressed by heroic men who fearlessly challenge the powerful. Reflect on Christ’s courageous willingness to aggressively confront the Pharisees on their own turf even as they plot to kill Him.

2) Like the Pharisees’ and scribes’ offenses against truth (plotting in secret, seeking to destroy Christ’s reputation, setting traps, etc.), men today often do the same: gossip, schemes to cheat, attacking others anonymously on the web, etc.) Review the Offenses against Truth in the 8th Commandment (CCC 2475-2487, 2504-2508) and pray for Christ to help you turn from any form of deceit and to always prudently be truthful.

3) Imperfect and sinful men can be enraged when unjustly persecuted, forgetting the Perfect Man who was persecuted by evil men; being one of Christ’s men requires humility in the face of persecution, but not the cowardly acceptance of injustice. Reflect on Persecution (CCC 530, 675, 1435, 1716, 2303) and pray for Christ to fill you with charity and wisdom to know how to respond when you are persecuted.

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