Jesus cryptically reveals He is the Messiah and the necessity for men to exclusively follow Him. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Kindness so they valiantly profess the truth about the sanctity of marriage with kindness and by growing in the Virtue of Temperance so he can conquer gluttony through the manly discipline of fasting.
13th Week in Ordinary Time – Saturday – Mt 9:14-17
Despite His rigorous spiritual discipline and tireless work to preach and heal, some scrutinize Jesus for a lack of piety. John the Baptist’s followers notice Jesus does not appear to publicly fast and question His disciples.
Prior to his imprisonment for heroically denouncing King Herod’s adulterous marriage to his brother’s wife, the Baptist practiced mortification of the mind and body (including fasting) to prepare for the coming of the Bridegroom (Jn 3:29); the Baptist specifically identifies Jesus as “the Bridegroom” (Jn 3:29), a reference of God’s spousal commitment to His people (Is 54:5-8). Like the Baptist, Jesus fasted (for 40 days – Mt 4:2), underscoring the importance of fasting and mortification.
Jesus’ response to the misguided disciples of the Baptist is both a revelation and a rebuke. Confirming He is God/the Bridegroom, Jesus replies that His disciples are to enjoy His presence without fasting until His Passion, and will fast and mourn afterwards. He exhorts the Baptist’s disciples to completely break with the Old Covenant and give themselves completely to Him. In veiled terms, Christ’s metaphor of new wine/old wineskins mysteriously points to the outpouring of mercy in His Blood in Eucharistic wine. Ominously, the metaphors also warn of the destructiveness of being lukewarm and not giving one’s self completely to Jesus (being torn or burst).
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Reflect upon the Divine Prudence (right thinking and right action for each situation) of Jesus as He Gently Corrects the confused disciples of John the Baptist by urging them to be both sacrificing and balanced: Divine Priest, Jesus directs men to prioritize the practices of Religion (a part of Justice, giving God His due praise and worship), feasting when appropriate (Feast Days/Sundays) and fasting when appropriate (Fridays, before receiving the Eucharist); Divine Prophet, Jesus offers a powerful metaphor of the wineskins which vividly urges men to fully embrace the New Covenant and is also a mysterious prophecy of the Blood/Wine of the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
Profess the truth about the sanctity of marriage with kindness
Realize: Jesus raises marriage to supernatural importance by revealing that He is the Bridegroom of His Bride, the Holy Catholic Church; sadly, huge numbers of people have rejected the holy Sacrament of Matrimony by accepting non-sacramental marriages, deliberate single motherhood, non-married “partners”, cohabitation, divorce, and same-sex marriage.
Believe: Reflect upon Marriage in God’s Plan (CCC 1601-1620).
Pray: Jesus, Sanctifier of Marriage, help me build the Virtue of Kindness (a part of Justice) so I am filled and motivated with Charity and have the strength to profess the truth of the Sacrament of Matrimony with kindness, so that others might turn away from sins against marriage.
Conquer gluttony through fasting and Temperance
Realize: Modern culture is obsessed with eating and drinking (fast food, food porn, binge eating and drinking, finickiness) and many men are stuck in the Deadly Sin of Gluttony (CCC 1866). Jesus calls every Catholic man to heroic virtue to free him from sins which enslave him, and so he can draw closer to Jesus.
Believe: Renew your commitment to regular Fasting (CCC 538, 1434, 2043) and other acts of Mortification (CCC 2015, 2549).
Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Temperance, help me build the Virtue of Temperance so I can be freed of my constant gluttonous urges to be finicky about what I eat and to eat or drink in excess, conquer my body’s cravings by regular fasting, be motivated to eat healthy foods in proper amounts, exercise to remain physically vital, and refocus my attention on You and more fully experience true and lasting happiness.