Jesus cryptically reveals He is the Messiah and the necessity for men to exclusively follow Him. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Knowledge from the Holy Spirit so he can see past scandal and love Christ’s holy Catholic Church and by building the Virtue of Temperance so he can conquer gluttony through fasting and self-control.
22nd Week in Ordinary time – Friday – Lk 5:33-39
The Pharisees and scribes, sensing Jesus is a threat, have begun to attack Him because He does not conform to the Pharisees’ rigid religious rituals. They confront Jesus, asserting John the Baptist’s disciples and the Pharisees both practice fasting, while Jesus and His disciples do not, implying Jesus is a false teacher. The Pharisees’ duplicitous use of John the Baptist as an example telegraphs their evil intent: they hated the Baptist because he publicly called them a “brood of vipers” (Mt 3:7), an insult of grave condemnation and disgust.
Jesus’ response to the Pharisees’ question about fasting is stunning; He responds by justifying His disciples’ lack of fasting because they are in the presence of God. Jesus’ mysterious referral to the Bridegroom certainly shocked the learned Pharisees and scribes, experts in the Old Testament, who would have immediately realized Jesus was comparing Himself to God and His spousal relationship with Israel (Is 54:5-8). Jesus also instructs His disciples to enjoy His presence without fasting until His Passion, and return to the worthy spiritual discipline of fasting and mourning for the destructiveness of sin, after His Passion.
Jesus uses veiled metaphors to describe the complete break from the Pharisees’ views of the Old Covenant necessary to become disciples of His New Covenant; those who do not give themselves completely to the New Covenant are warned of dire consequences (being torn or burst). The metaphor of new wine/old wineskins also mysteriously points to the outpouring of mercy in His Blood in the wine of the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Soberly consider, with fear of God’s just wrath, that despite the desacralization and degradation of marriage in modern culture (civil marriages, outdoor/vacation/themed marriage, marriage as drunken party, “re-marriage” after divorce, same-sex “marriage”), Jesus, the Divine Priest, deliberately and prominently takes on the self-designation as the “Bridegroom”, leaving an indelible confirmation of the profound sacredness of the Sacrament of Matrimony and the importance of Chastity.
See past scandal and love the Holy Catholic Church
Realize: Some Catholic men have sinfully turned away from the Church due to their disgust of the horrific and scandalous sex crimes of homosexual priests and coverups by bishops; despite the abominable sins of some clergy, Jesus continues to love His Church, like a bridegroom loves his bride, and His Church remains ever one, holy, Catholic and apostolic.
Believe: Reflect upon Christ the Bridegroom (CCC 219, 796, 867).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Knowledge so my mind is filled by Your Truth, I see past the scandal and know the reality that the Church remains holy, and I grow in love and fidelity to Christ’s Bride, the Holy Catholic Church.
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: Reflect upon the Virtue of Temperance (CCC 805, 1809, 1838, 1866, 2290).
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.