The Gospel reading from the Mass for Monday of the 31st Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 14:12-14.

After miraculously healing a man with dropsy (severe swelling) and rebuking the Pharisees who jockey for positions of honor at table, Christ, aware the Pharisees are seeking to destroy Him, provocatively rebukes the influential Pharisee host of the banquet.

In the ancient Israel, hospitality was a valued social norm among Jews, reinforced in the Old Testament. With the rich and powerful, hospitality became perverted, becoming a gathering for the rich to see and be seen, cementing control in a “you invite me…I’ll invite you” social posturing.

Witnessing the Pharisees’ jockeying for status and knowing their hearts, Christ directs the Pharisee host to stop inviting his family and friends to his banquets and to start returning hospitality to its charitable purpose, inviting the poor to dine, particularly those with disabilities (maimed, blind, lame), who were often stigmatized as unworthy and shunned. Rather than settle for the short-term benefit of getting invited to other banquets, Christ tells the man to aspire to gain the astounding reward of the resurrection for those who are just.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ asserts His dominion over the Sabbath and reveals the reality of the resurrection and how one can be rewarded. Divine King, Christ aggressively rebukes and authoritatively corrects the murderous Pharisees. Divine Teacher, Christ has a keen eye for men’s behaviors and sins and offers clear direction to help men become holy. Divine Judge, Christ confirms that one’s acts have impact on one’s eternal fate and mysteriously reveals one of the criteria (charity to the suffering) of His Judgment.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) When attacked, men often respond with even greater viciousness, seeking to dominate their opponents. In contrast, Christ offers Divine Mercy to His would-be attackers, correcting their sinful behavior, describing how to be holy and even revealing how they might be saved.

2) Christ reveals that a man’s acts of charity will be “repaid at the resurrection of the just.” Review Works and Judgment (CCC 679, 1021, 1039) and pray for Christ to give you the will and courage to personally serve the poor and disabled.

3) Like the Pharisees, many men live by the motto “quid pro quo” (Latin meaning “something for something”), cleverly giving and doing favors for others to get some future benefit in return; these are simply “transactions” and not charitable acts of hospitality. Renew your understanding of Christ’s New Law (CCC 1965-1986) and pray for Christ to give you a truly generous heart that selflessly offers hospitality to all.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Souls in Purgatory

Virtue of the Day – Prudence

Corporal Work of Mercy – To give drink to the thirsty

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To instruct the ignorant