As news of Christ’s many miracles and powerful preaching grows, the religious leaders of Jerusalem send out men to discredit Him. The Pharisees (meaning, “separated ones”) were a powerful Jewish renewal movement within Israel that sought to enforce strict ritual codes to keep Jews from being defiled by the Roman occupiers, hoping to gain God’s favor and restore Israel to independence. Pharisees developed stringent personal rituals and traditions which took the Laws of Moses to extremes and caused them to focus on ritual details while forgetting mercy.

Confronting Christ, Pharisee scribes (experts in the Law) accuse His disciples of failing to keep the Pharisee’s hand washing rules; they are unconcerned about hygiene but take issues with lax religious discipline. Christ viciously responds, calling the Pharisees, hypocrites (“pretenders”), condemning them of being in arrogant rebellion to God using the words of Isaiah (Isa 29:13).

Broadening His attack, Christ condemns the Pharisees’ sinful practice of using their self-righteous financial and property offerings at the Temple (Coban) as an excuse to avoid their responsibility to care for aging parents. Citing Moses, Christ warns the Pharisees their failure to care for the financial needs of their parents breaks the 4th Commandment (“Honor thy father and mother…”) and leads to death of the sinner. Christ further broadens His condemnation to include the Pharisees’ arrogant manufacturing of traditions which oppose God’s Word.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ gives the Commandments to men and does not tolerate the breaking of the Commandments. Son of Man, Christ courageously and aggressively confronts and condemns those in power who sin. Divine Teacher, Christ has mastery of all wisdom, concisely summarizes errors and effortlessly quotes Scripture to correct the errant.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Despite the risks of taking on the powerful Pharisees, Christ aggressively confronts and condemns them. Marvel at the Perfection of Virtue as Christ exhibits undaunted courage in the face of sin.

2) Christ condemns the false, man-made traditions of the Pharisees and some who are ignorant use this passage in an attempt to undercut Catholic tradition. Understand the God-given validity of the Tradition of the Church (CCC 74-100) and ask Christ to help you grow in obedience and love of the Church.

3) Opposing Christ, many men consider the 10 Commandments obsolete or irrelevant and simply ignore them. Strengthen your understanding of the 4th Commandment (Honor thy father and mother – CCC 2197-2257); pray for Christ’s guidance and help live out your responsibilities to your family.

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