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July 20, 2018: Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time [II]

Reading Isaiah 38:1-6,21-22,7-8
Gospel Matthew 12:1-8

“For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”

The “something greater than the temple” of which Jesus speaks today is, of course, Jesus Himself. As the Old Testament priests served in the Temple, so the disciples of Jesus serve in His Presence. It is in serving Him, and especially in offering priestly sacrifice through Him, that all Christian works find their meaning and are rightly ordered.

Here the virtue of prudence shows its place. Prudence is sometimes called the “charioteer of the virtues”. A modern analogy would be to see prudence as the steering wheel of a car. Prudence is neither the engine (which could be correlated with divine charity) nor the gearshift (temperance) nor the GPS (hope). Nonetheless, as simple as the role of the steering wheel is, the whole motorcraft depends essentially upon it. Likewise with prudence.

The most basic level of moral decision-making is to shun evil and to do good. Prudence is hardly needed at this level. But the upper echelons of morality depend greatly on prudence, where the moral agent faces many good choices, and is tasked with choosing not merely the good but the best. If we realize that Christ—that “something greater”—is always with us, then His Presence will guide our prudent choices.