Jesus sternly rebukes those who reject Him and St. John the Baptist. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Counsel from the Holy Spirit so he can more fully root out the sins in his life and by building the Virtue of Self-control so he can vigorously fight the vice of gluttony.
24th Week in Ordinary time – Wednesday – Lk 7:31-35
After sending the imprisoned John the Baptist a message confirming that He is the Messiah, Jesus applauds the Baptist’s greatness to the crowd. Many rejoice for they had been baptized by John; the Pharisees and lawyers grumble and reject Jesus for they had refused to be baptized.
Jesus publicly rebukes His enemies (Pharisees, lawyers), but uses veiled terms to confound their evil short-term plans to kill Him. Humiliating them by comparing them to pouting little children who play yelling games in the marketplace, Jesus speaks of His joyous message (“We piped for you…”) that His enemies reject (“you did not dance”), and the Baptist’s call to repentance (“we wailed for you”) that His enemies also reject (“did not mourn”).
Jesus reiterates His point about the childish and evil behavior of the Jewish elites by getting specific. While John is an ascetic who fasts and eats little, the Jewish leaders accuse the Baptist as being possessed by a demon. When Jesus does the opposite of John by eating with sinners, the Jewish leaders accuse Him of being a glutton and drunkard, a slanderous lie. Jesus ends with this: Wisdom (Jesus Christ Himself is Wisdom) is justified (proven true as the Messiah) by all her children (those who repent, are baptized and follow Jesus).
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Reflect upon Jesus, the Divine Prophet, as He condemns those who oppose His mission: despite knowing of the plans of the Jewish elites to kill Him, Jesus Courageously (a part of Fortitude) Mocks them for their disbelief; the perfection of Truth (a part of Justice), Jesus Condemns the lies and calumnies against John the Baptist and Him; the perfection of Temperance, Jesus eats and drinks in moderation to sufficiently nourish His body, despite being regularly invited to dine at lavish banquets where gluttony abounds.
Seek Counsel to root out sins
Realize: Today, there are many false teachers who claim to be Christian but teach ideas in opposition to the truth of Christ, such as the “prosperity gospel”, the idea that nobody goes to Hell, and the presumptuous false mercy of ignoring some kinds of obvious sins; most false teachers typically promise blessings from Jesus but avoid or deny the need for self-examination, repentance from sin, and the hard work of sacrifice to grow in holiness. The true Gospel, preserved by His Holy Catholic Church, makes is clear men must repent (“to wail”) to be able to encounter Jesus’ joy (“to pipe”).
Believe: Review the need for Repentance (CCC 541, 674, 1425-1433, 1889, 1226).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Counsel so I regularly conduct a deep Examination of Conscience, recognize my sins, repent, be forgiven and cleansed of my sins in the glorious Sacrament of Penance, and experience the astounding joy of being given a fresh clean start by You.
Fight gluttony by growing in self-control
Realize: With abundant food, sedentary lifestyles and poor impulse control, men struggle with gluttony; many men are overweight or obese. St. John the Baptist, like many saints, lived a life of strict mortification, repenting for his sins and the sins of the world.
Believe: Recall the Heavenly Virtue of Temperance and review the Catechism’s teaching on Gluttony and Mortification (CCC 1866, 1430, 2015, 2549).
Pray: Almighty Father, help me build the Virtue of Self-Control (a part of Temperance) so I can defeat the slavery of cravings for sweets and alcohol, eat and drink in moderation, exercise to maintain vitality, and experience the great blessing of having the vibrant health and energy to serve You to the best of my ability.