The Gospel reading from the Mass for Monday of the 32nd Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 17:1-6.

After teaching that disciples must be full of charity and humility and revealing the agony of the fires of Hell, Christ now warns the disciples of the destruction that comes to men who cause others to sin. Mincing no words, Christ reveals it is better to be strangled and drowned with a huge millstone around one’s neck then the fate of those who purposefully cause one in their care to sin, especially the sin of rejecting the faith. Christ’s severe warning refers to disciples who by scandal or false teaching lead others to sin and also to adults who deceive or prey on the young.

Christ turns to the need for disciples to offer unlimited forgiveness for the repentant sinner. Christ makes it clear that sin is condemned, warning (take heed!) disciples to see other men as their brothers and to rebuke them when they sin. Disciples must forgive those who repent from sin, even if a soul repeatedly sins and repents.

The stunning demands of Christ to not lead others into sin and to offer unlimited forgiveness lead the Apostles to to a crisis: they cry “Increase our faith!” The Apostles, especially chosen and blessed by Christ, have the self-awareness and soberness of mind to realize that Christ’s demands exceed their faith; even Christ’s chosen have a holy fear of His demands and wrath (to be thrown into the sea with a millstone around the neck). In response, Christ exhorts the Apostles to seek faith, for even small faith (as small as a mustard seed) can achieve impossible supernatural things (to uproot and move a giant tree with a word to grow in the sea!). Christ makes no demands of His men that He will not ensure they can meet if they will only have complete faith in Him.

Awed by Jesus ChristDivine King, Christ makes extraordinary demands of His men. Divine Prophet, Christ urges His disciples to high levels of holiness and reveals that those who have faith can perform miracles. Divine Judge, Christ alludes to the awful severity of punishment that comes to those who lead others into sin.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Despite Christ’s warning about misleading others, many have promoted a false Christ who is like a totally non-judgmental friend. Reflect on Christ’s actual words which clearly warn of His violent punishment for those who lead others into sin.

2) Christ’s own life (The Temptation) and teaching confirms that men suffer temptation in the Spiritual Combat; “an attraction, either from outside oneself or from within, to act contrary to right reason and the commandments of God.” Renew your understanding of Temptation (CCC 1707, 2846-2849, 2863, 2732-2733) and continually pray for Christ to help you battle temptations, particularly those so prevalent among men (lust, sloth, gluttony, anger).

3) Christ gives a violent and deathly warning to those who lure others, especially young people, to commit sin; scandal (meaning to trap or snare) is caused by both what men do and fail to do. Reflect upon Scandal (CCC 29, 2284-2287, 2353, 2355, 2489) and pray for Christ to help you lead your family and others to Christ and to always avoid scandal through teaching the fullness of faith and by living a holy life.

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