Following the summary of His Gospel in the comprehensive Sermon on the Mount, Christ descended from the mountain and began to teach and heal.  After raising a young girl from the dead and healing a women with a hemorrhage, Christ encounters two blind men as He passes by. Being blind was particularly difficult in those days for the blind had little option but to beg for alms (meaning, “pity or mercy”), monies given by Jews to their poor and destitute.

The blind men cry out to Jesus for mercy, calling Him the Son of David, a reference to the long-awaited Messiah.  Christ passes them without a word and enters a house.  Persistent, the blind men follow Christ into the house. Christ, knowing the men are seeking to be miraculously healed and not asking for money, first tests the men’s faith, asking, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”  Confirming their belief that He is the Messiah, they say “Yes, Lord.” Christ simply touches their eyes and they gain sight; He credits the gift of healing to the blind men’s faith.

Christ sternly instructs the men not to reveal that He has healed them, knowing many mistakenly believed that the Messiah would be a political leader who will overthrow the Roman occupation; Christ seeks to avoid confrontation for the time being. Defying Christ’s order, the men are so moved by their miraculous healing, they can’t help but speak about this supernatural miracle that has radically changed their lives. The men’s testimony about their miraculous healing by Christ spreads throughout the area.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of David, Christ is the long-awaited Messiah who comes to establish a new kingdom. Son of God, Christ reads men’s hearts and inner thoughts, discerning their true faith and worthiness to receive miracles.  Divine Physician, Christ has the power to miraculously gives sight to the blind by a simple touch of His hand.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Despite the advances of technology, most types of blindness remains incurable. Marvel at Christ’s absolute power to fix broken eyes with a simple touch of His hand.

2) Serious trials come to every man; strained or broken relationships, financial pressure, excessive demands at work, addictions to substances and sex, etc.  During Advent, turn to Christ with the faith of the blind men and persistently pray for Him to have mercy on you.

3) Advent is a time of mysterious power in the Church as the Body of Christ anticipates the Incarnation. Starting today, read the Gospel from the daily Mass and pray for Christ to help you to enter into the great blessings of Advent.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ

Virtue of the Day – Faith

Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the sick

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To forgive all injuries

In the grand summary of Christ’s Gospel in the Sermon on the Mount, Christ exhorts men to produce good works and explains how good works flow from a man’s commitment to build an inner life exclusively on Him and His teachings.  Half measures will lead to destruction.

Christ rebukes hypocritical men who appear to be followers (“Lord, Lord”) but do not do the will of the Father in Heaven.  In verses excluded from today’s reading (v. 22-23), Christ warns  false Christians that, despite their evidently good works, He will reject them as evildoers.  Christ’s urging is that men give themselves fully, with obedience and humility, to God and to relentlessly seek to do His will.

Using the Parable of the Builder, Christ exhorts men strive to grow in sainthood (digging a deep foundation) by focusing on His teachings (foundational rock); when the storms of life and the Judgment comes, a man’s life (house) will withstand the storm. Men who lazily fail to strive for sainthood (digging a shallow foundation) and base their lives (house) on faulty morality (sand) will face destruction when the storms of life and the Judgment comes.  Christ’s words astonish the crowds (v. 28-29).

Awed by Jesus ChristDivine King, Christ asserts His Will and commands that His followers must do what He says. Divine Teacher, Christ gives logical and compelling parables which continue to change men’s hearts. Divine Judge, Christ reveals some of His criteria for the Judgment (good or bad fruit) and that some will go to Heaven (surviving the storm) and some will go to Hell (the great fall of the house).

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Many Catholic men have yet to be awed by Christ.  Re-read today’s Gospel, realizing that He is “Lord” and that He has the omniscience and power to determine who will have eternal life.

2) Advent is a time for men to “re-up” in their commitment to Christ. Pray for Christ to help you make the commitment to give your entire self to Him and to live a vibrant Catholic faith.

3) A rock-solid faith that can withstand life’s storms (Satan’s attacks, personal tragedy) is built on a foundation of daily prayer. Vow to pray every day for the rest of your life. This Advent, study the Catechism’s teaching on prayer (Part 4 – Christian Prayer) and pray for Christ to help you to grow in your prayer life.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Luminous Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Holy Eucharist

Virtue of the Day – Fortitude

Corporal Work of Mercy – To shelter the homeless

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To bear wrongs patiently

 

Christ withdraws along the Sea of Galilee to a mountain and is followed by a large crowd. Though He desires to be with the Father in solitude, Christ has a deep visceral reaction to the multitude of desperate Jews and Gentiles who seek Him. For three days, Christ tirelessly responds by miraculously curing all: the mute, the maimed, the lame and the blind.The multitude glorifies the God of Israel.

Christ, perfectly compassionate, knows the crowd is famished and weak after being in the wilderness for three days with no food; perhaps He is recalling His own fast in the desert for 40 days. The crowd are richly rewarded for their determination to be near Christ. Christ’s history-changing action by Feeding of the 4000 (Men) understates the miracle; when women and children are included, the count of those fed is much higher.

While the miracle of feeding thousands of people astounds, Christ’s action is much greater than simple feeding. Revealing Himself as the Divine Priest, Christ previews the liturgy of the Eucharist in the breaking of the bread, just as He will do at the Last Supper. He draws the 12 Apostles to Himself and allows them to mediate His Grace to mankind as they distribute the bread to the multitude; as priests after Christ’s Resurrection, the Apostles and their successors will feed billions of people with the Bread of Life in the Eucharist at every Mass. Christ seers the miracle into the minds of the 12 Apostles when they collect up the remains to find there was more bread than they had at the beginning; the 7 loaves had miraculously multiplied to feed the multitude and had now grown to fill 7 baskets.

Awed by Jesus ChristDivine Mercy, Christ heals the sick and relieves the hunger of the multitude.  Divine King and the Greatest Leader, Christ forms His apostles through participation in the miracle.  Son of Man, Christ feels emotions deeply, particularly compassion for the suffering. Divine Priest, Christ’s replays the feeding of Israel with manna, previews the Eucharist and initiates the Apostles into priesthood.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Christ’s astounding miracles sometimes lose their impact on the modern reader. Consider this: using simple math and some reasonable assumptions, Christ miraculously provided a semi-truck load full of bread in the Feeding of the 4000.

2) Unlike Christ and the multitude who persevere in the tough conditions of the wilderness for three days, many in the prosperous modern society have lost the “hunger” to endure hardship and persevere. During Advent, return to the Church’s teaching to fast on Fridays, recalling Christ’s rewards for those who sacrifice and persevere.

3) Catholic men, like the majority of men, struggle with lust in this age of pervasive pornography. During these Advent days in which the Virgin, married to the chaste St. Joseph, will give birth to God, ask Christ to help you reject impurity and to grow in holiness.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Glorious Mysteries

Daily Devotion – Saint Joseph

Virtue of the Day – Temperance

Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the imprisoned

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To comfort the sorrowful

After commissioning His 12 Apostles and then an expanded group of 70 disciples to go and preach the Gospel, Christ welcomes them back, rejoicing that the Kingdom has been preached.  Granting them superhuman powers, including immunity from deadly snakes/scorpions and the attacks of the enemy (Satan), Christ warns them to not rejoice in the powers granted but to rejoice because He will list their names as saints in Heaven.

Turning to the Father from whom all blessings flow, Christ rejoices that the great plan of Salvation History is being accomplished. In just a few short lines, Christ’s prayer to the Father is a powerful blessing that reveals the closeness of the Father and the Son. He reveals the perfect love between the Father and the Son. He reveals His perfect obedience to and reverence for the Father. He expresses His heart-deep thanks for His Father’s blessings. He acknowledges the power the Father has given Him in the world. He confirms the Father’s dominion over Creation.

Christ’s prayer also reveals how men can draw closer to God the Father. Through His example, Christ demonstrates how men can speak with God. He reveals that through the Father’s gracious will, God is hidden from the arrogant (self-proclaimed “wise”) and revealed to the innocent (infants); that only through humble obedience and dependence, men can be open to receiving Christ’s Wisdom. To receive Wisdom, He reveals that the only way to God the Father is through the Son. After Christ’s prayer, He privately reveals to the disciples the profound blessing they have been given in their witness of His prayer in the Holy Spirit to the Father.

Awed by Jesus Christ – Person of the Trinity, Christ reveals glimpses of the relationship of the Father and the Son. Son of God, Jesus asserts that God has the power to influence the lives of men and does so. Almighty King, Christ reveals that only through Him can men be drawn to the Father. Divine Teacher, Christ reveals the profound blessing the disciples have been given in their witness of Christ’s conversation with the Father.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) The Church reminds men during Advent of the many blessed mysteries of Christ. Reflect on the astounding truth that Christ, recognized by most by His human nature, is a Divine Person who shares an incomprehensible intimacy with God the Father.

2) Some men have wonderful human fathers, many don’t. Despite the failings of human fathers, every Catholic man has the ability to be drawn to God, the Perfect Father.  During Advent (meaning, “to come”) , pray for Christ to help you to draw close to God the Father and to be fathered by Him.

3) Each Catholic man, including those with biological children and those without, is called to be a spiritual father who brings spiritual children to God the Father. Reflect on Christ’s dependence on His Father and pray for Christ to help you grow in your vocation of spiritual fatherhood.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Guardian Angels

Virtue of the Day – Justice

Corporal Work of Mercy – To clothe the naked

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To counsel the doubtful

Continuing to demonstrate His miraculous power after the Sermon on the Mount, Christ enters Capernaum and encounters a Roman Centurion, a soldier who commanded about a 100 soldiers. The Centurion, in a startling act of humility, begs Christ for help, explaining that his servant is paralyzed and in great distress.  Undaunted by Jewish laws that limited interaction with Gentiles, Jesus agrees immediately to “come and heal” the servant.

The Centurion calls Jesus “Lord”, asking Him to perform a healing miracle from a distance because of the Centurion’s unworthiness and because Jews were not supposed to enter a Gentile’s house (Acts 10:28). The Centurion has complete trust in Jesus’s authority and supernatural power to perform miracles from afar.

Jesus “marveled” (one of the few times recorded in the Gospel) and announces to the crowd that the Gentile Centurion’s faith exceeds any expression of faith by Jews. Shockingly, Jesus proclaims that Gentiles will be saved (i.e. from the east and west) and many Jews will not be. Jesus credits the Centurion’s belief and He miraculously and instantly heals the servant from afar.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ has absolute authority and power over Creation. Omniscient, Christ can diagnose an illness from afar and has the knowledge to cure it.  Divine Physician, Christ has the supernatural power to change the physiology of a person from afar. Divine Judge, Christ reveals many will judged as unworthy of the Heavenly Banquet. Son of Man, Christ has incredible stamina, keeping up a grueling pace of travel, speaking and healing.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Trillions are spent on health care each year on legions of medical workers, diagnostic equipment and drugs. Reflect on the truth that the Son of Man has the supernatural power to simply heal any illness with His Will.

2) A key reason for the Catholic “man-crisis” is that many Catholic men are not moved by the false feminized Jesus so often portrayed; men will not follow a false feminized Christ. Consider the ultimate Man, the Almighty King and how the Roman warrior humbles himself before Christ. During this first week of Advent, commit to grow in your respect for Our Almighty King.

3) Millions of Catholic men have gone cold in their faith or lost it completely. Does Christ “marvel” at your faith? Pray that He send the Holy Spirit to help you grow in faith like the Centurion’s during this Advent.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Souls in Purgatory

Virtue of the Day – Prudence

Corporal Work of Mercy – To give drink to the thirsty

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To instruct the ignorant