Jesus calls some adulterous and evil and mysteriously proclaims His greatness. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Understanding from the Holy Spirit so he can recognize the reality of his coming resurrection and by building the Virtue of Fortitude so he can meet resistance by others to Jesus Christ with empathy and fortitude. 

Liturgy

16th Week in Ordinary time – Monday – Mt 12:38-42

Commentary

The Pharisees, who had schemed to “utterly destroy” Jesus because they believed Him to be a fraud, now attack with the help of the scribes, who were experts in scripture. They duplicitously address Jesus as, “Teacher”, and ask Him for a “sign.” Ironically, blinded by hatred, they fail to see the most Perfect Sign, Jesus Christ, is standing before them. 

As usual, Jesus sees through the evil schemes of the men He created. Rather than prove Himself again (Mt 9:33; 12:33), Jesus blasts His enemies, calling them, an “evil and adulterous generation” (Greek).  To the learned Pharisees and scribes, Jesus has given a stunning and violent rebuke for He judges the Pharisees and scribes to be as bad as the faithless Jews who were excluded from the Promised Land by God (Deut 1:35; 32:5; 29:1-3); it is a severe and insulting condemnation.  

Continuing to refer to Scripture, Jesus makes astounding claims about Himself and His enemies among the Jews by using familiar Jewish figures from the Old Testament. Jesus makes the startling revelation that He is the Son of Man, the promised Messiah, and He is greater than the great prophet Jonah. By drawing comparison to Jonah, who was entombed in a whale for three days, Jesus offers a veiled prophecy of His Passion, for He will be entombed and rise again after three days. Jesus then escalates His claims of greatness by revealing He is even greater than Solomon, Israel’s second greatest king. Jesus goes even further with His condemnation and insults by revealing the pagan men of Nineveh and the pagan queen of the South will rise and have the superior moral authority to condemn the evil generation of Jews. 

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Contrary to the false teachings of those who portray Jesus as permissive and willing to forgive unrepentant sinners who remain rebelliously defiant in even the most perverse of sins, be filled with holy fear of God’s just punishment in this passage: Jesus, the Son of Man, Harshly Warns the people of Israel, calling them evil, and warns of the condemnation of the unrepentant in the Judgment. 

Seek understanding of the reality of your coming resurrection

Realize: Jesus’ revelation, “no sign shall be given…except the sign of Jonah”, is an explicit exhortation for men to be absolutely convinced by His Resurrection (rising to life after three days like Jonah’s “rebirth” from the belly of the whale). 

Believe: Reflect upon the Revelation of the Resurrection (CCC 638-658; 988-1019).

Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Understanding so I receive Your supernatural help to grasp the truth and be awed by God’s glorious promise that I can be raised from the dead, and help me to be able to frequently recall the truth about the Resurrection and strive to grow in holiness in preparation for my own resurrection at the Judgment.

Meet resistance to Jesus with empathy and fortitude

Realize: Sincere Catholic men who diligently proclaim the Gospel often face indifference, skepticism, ridicule, and even persecution from unbelievers and the doubtful; rather than reacting with frustration, discouragement, anger, or retribution, every Catholic man should have empathy and remember the poor souls who reject Jesus have a confused understanding of the faith and they lack the blessing of being near to Jesus. 

Believe: Reflect upon the Spiritual Works of Mercy (CCC 2447).

Pray: Almighty Father, help be build the Virtue of Fortitude so I always courageously persevere with love and patience to do the magnanimous work of drawing the doubtful and ignorant to Your Son and Your Holy Catholic Church.