The daily Gospel reading from the Mass for Friday of the 9th Week of Ordinary Time is Mark 12:38-44.

After demonstrating that the Jewish scribes and leaders had failed to properly interpret prophesy about the Messiah (Mark 12:35-37), Christ warns of the pride and greed of some of the scribes and provides the example of the Widow’s Mite as a model of humility and selfless generosity.

Though Christ recently praised a scribe (Mark 12:34), He also pointed out the scribes’ inability to fully interpret Scripture (Mark 12:35-37). Now, Christ condemns scribes who pridefully seek honor in the marketplace, synagogues and banquets. He also condemns scribes who greedily twist prayers to steal homes from the venerable widows whom Scripture demanded receive special care (Deut 24:17); when Christ said the Temple had become a “den of thieves” (Mark 11:17), He was perhaps referring to these evil greedy scribes. Christ confirms the evil scribes will receive the “greater condemnation.”

In contrast, Christ draws His disciples together to teach them about the need for humility and extraordinary generosity.  Rather than praising the rich who give large amounts in a showy way, Jesus praises the humble widow, who though desperately poor, makes a heroic act of faith by giving extravagantly to the Temple treasury.

Awed by Jesus ChristDivine Prophet, Christ with strong courage, publicly rebukes the powerful scribes for their craving for honor and thievery from poor widows. Divine Judge, Christ condemns the evil scribes. Divine Teacher, Christ instructs men on the kind of humility and generosity that impresses Him using the example of the widow’s mite.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Marvel at Christ’s open and fearless condemnation of the powerful scribes for their pride, greed and evil acts; Christ fears no man and speaks the truth even though it will provoke the Jewish leaders to murder Him.

2) Christ harshly condemns the envy, greed and thievery of the wicked scribes and extols the generosity of the poor widow. Review the 10th Commandment’s prohibition of coveting another’s goods (CCC 2534-2557) and pray for Christ to help remove greed from your heart and grow in generosity.

3) Though Christ praises the widow’s heroic sacrifice to give money in the Temple, many Catholic men give little or nothing to Christ’s Catholic Church. Reflect on your obligation to support the Church (CCC 1351, 2043) and pray for Christ to help you to sacrifice and give more to His Church.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Blessed Virgin Mary

Virtue of the Day – Hope

Corporal Work of Mercy – To bury the dead

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To pray for the living and the dead