The Gospel reading from the Mass for Wednesday of the 28th Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 11:42-46. 

Dining with an accusing Pharisee, Christ continues His scathing rebuke of the Pharisees and lawyers and their hypocrisy.  He condemns them with a series of “woes”; “Woes” are a declaration of doom, curses that warn the unrepentant of God’s coming judgment. 

Christ begins by condemning the Pharisees’ confused obsession with keeping to the minute details of tithing while completely missing the essential need for “justice and the love of God.” The hypocritical Pharisees rigorously measured out their required 1/10th tithe of their harvest of small herbs (mint, dill cumin), absurdly believing that scrupulosity made them holy while failing to love. He rebukes the Pharisees because they constantly seek honor and status in public places (markets, synagogues).  He condemns the Pharisees by revealing they are as defiled as a corpse in a grave; being in contact with a corpse left a Jew ritually unclean and unable to worship in the Temple (Num 19:11-19).  

A hapless lawyer attempts to challenge Christ by pointing out that Christ’s curses are falling on lawyers too. Unintimidated, Christ excoriates lawyers for their hypocrisy at dolling out heavy burdens on men while the lawyers exempt themselves from the same burdens. 

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ perfectly knows and condemns the state of men’s souls. Divine King, Christ acts with authority and bluntly crushes the corrupt with irrefutable condemnation.  Divine Prophet, Christ uses the proclamation of woes/curses as did Old Testament prophets.  

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Men are attracted to fearless men who take down corrupt powers. Marvel at Christ Jesus, a carpenter from Galilee (and the Son of God), who fearlessly and overwhelmingly condemns the corrupt Jews, right to their faces.  

2) Christ harshly rebukes the imperfect but zealous practice of the faith by Pharisees: imagine how Christ will condemn Catholic men who lack both zeal and practice. Renew your understanding of the grave sin of Acedia/Sloth (CCC 1866, 2094, 2733) and pray for Christ to make you “on-fire” to practice the faith. 

3) While Christ condemns the hypocritical rituals of the Pharisees, He does not condemn acts of piety. Renew your understanding of Popular Piety (CCC 1674-1676, 1679) and pray for Christ to help build a consistent practice of praying the Rosary and to develop a deep devotion to St. Joseph (see the Encyclical, Quamquam Pluries).