Rather than minister to the crowds as He normally does, Jesus instructs the disciples to prepare a boat to go to the other side of the sea. Christ does not neglect the crowd, nor does He need “breathing room”; Christ is deliberately preparing the disciples to push off into the unknown and cut all ties for the sake of the Gospel.

Remarkably, the scribe, who has the pedigree of life-long rigorous scripture study, calls Jesus “Teacher”, a high honor given that Jesus has no worldly scripture pedigree.  The scribe, likely having heard Christ’s magnificent Sermon on the Mount, has found the Messiah he has longed for His whole life; he is willing to leave everything to follow Jesus.

Generously, Jesus responds to the scribe with the stupendous revelation that He is the “Son o Man”, a title for the long-awaited messiah.  Jesus offers the Scribe only Himself, for having voluntarily exiled Himself from Heaven to save mankind; He lives in abject poverty.  Those who wish to follow Christ must “cross over” into the unknown, totally abandoning everything and to only hold fast to Christ.

Christ’s blunt response (i.e. “Let the dead bury the dead. Follow Me”) to the disciple who asks for permission to bury his father makes it clear of the absolute commitment He demands of His followers; symbolically, Christ is calling men from death to life.

Awed by Jesus Christ – Christ affirms that He is the Son of Man, the messiah predicted for over a thousand years.  Jesus is recognized as the Divine Teacher by pious scholars of His day and teaches with enduring and memorable words.  Divine King, Christ challenges disciples to unconditional commitment and complete trust.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) The scribe (think Ph.D. In Biblical Theology) is so convinced about Jesus Christ that he is willing to leave everything behind. Reflect on the fact that many of the greatest minds of men (e.g. Augustine, Aquinas, Doctors of the Church, etc.) have been absolutely convinced by Christ.

2) Modern men seek security through career, property, money, health insurance, etc.; while prudent, accumulating and holding on to assets can distract from pursuing God and can give a false sense of security.  Pray for Christ to give you the courage to put your faith completely in Him.

3) Christ seeks unconditional devotion and routinely asks those He calls to heroic action. Are you taking action for Christ?  What is Christ calling you to do to build the Kingdom?

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

Having completed His work in Galilee, Jesus “sets His face” in steely determination and begins the heroic ascent to Jerusalem where He will proclaim Truth, suffer on the Cross and be “taken up” in triumph in the Ascension.

Journeying through Samaria, Jesus directs men to prepare a village for His arrival. Samaritans, the descendants of the intermarriage of Jews and Gentiles, and Jews were long term adversaries, believing in and worshiping God differently. When the Samaritans reject Jesus, James and John, the men Jesus calls the “Sons of Thunder”(Mark 3:17), zealously ask for permission to destroy the Samaritans with fire, perhaps as Elijah had previously done (2 Kings 17:24). Jesus rebukes them for He does not reject Samaritans (or any race); He praises them (The Good Samaritan) and evangelizes them (The Samaritan Woman at the Well).

Christ calls for exclusive and absolute commitment of those who seek Heaven. He warns one enthusiastic man to expect hardship as a disciple (i.e. nowhere to lay one’s head). To another who asks to fulfill the noble duty of burying his father, Christ offers a blunt and highly provocative rebuke (i.e. let the dead bury the dead) to make clear the the urgent and absolute commitment of those who wish to follow Him.  To another, Jesus makes clear that those who weakly long for their old life (i.e. look back) are not worthy of the manly vocation (i.e. the plow) of being Christ’s disciple and the Kingdom of Heaven.

Awed by Jesus ChristDivine Prophet, Jesus perfects the previous prophetic acts of Jeremiah and Ezekiel in going to Jerusalem. Son of Man, Jesus forgoes comfort and courageously perseveres through certain condemnation and persecution, leading to His death. Jesus, Divine King, firmly rebukes overzealous or lukewarm men and demands absolute and exclusive commitment.  Divine Teacher, Christ knows that lukewarmness kills men and firmly teaches men the truth about discipleship.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Jesus, the Son of God, has miraculously prepared the world for His Passion by sending the prophets before Him. Be awed by how Christ establishes, directs and enters into Salvation History.

2) Many have blasphemously attempted to feminize Jesus by falsely portraying Him as predominately “meek and mild”, a soft lady with a beard. Consider that James and John, the “Sons of Thunder”, asked Him to smote the Samaritan village, thinking He would do it.

3) Millions of Catholic men have not made the “100% all in” commitment that Christ demands; Christ makes it clear that they are not fit for Heaven.  Pray for Christ to give you the faith, today, to give yourself heroically and completely to Christ.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Glorious Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Blessed Trinity

Virtue of the Day – Charity

Corporal Work of Mercy – To feed the hungry

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To admonish the sinner

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.

Jesus continues to Peter’s house, miraculously heals Peter’s mother-in-law’s fever and works late into the night, miraculously healing all who were sick.

Awed by Jesus Christ – Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has absolute authority and power over Creation. Omniscient, Jesus can diagnose an illness from afar and has the knowledge to cure it. The Divine Physician, Jesus has the supernatural power to change the physiology of a person from afar. Divine Judge, Jesus reveals many will judged as unworthy of the Heavenly Banquet. Jesus, the Son of Man, 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 recognize the Church has become feminized. Consider the ultimate Man, the Almighty King and how the Roman warrior humbles himself before Christ. Commit to a new vigor to pay attention to the powerful masculinity of Christ.

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 give you a faith like the Centurion’s.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers
Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries
Daily Devotion – The Blessed Virgin Mary
Virtue of the Day – Hope
Corporal Work of Mercy – To bury the dead
Spiritual Work of Mercy – To pray for the living and the dead

Having completed His proclamation of the New Covenant from a mountaintop in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7), in Matthew 8:1-4, Jesus now descends and performs 10 miracles (Matt 8:1-9:38), drawing great crowds.

Leprosy is a devastating illness (though curable today) that ravages the bodies of lepers. Worse, since leprosy made a man “unclean” by Jewish law (Lev 13-14) and was contagious, lepers were outcasts who were forced to live outside of cities, shut out from the covenant life of Israel.

Despite his stigma, a man with leprosy boldly breaks through the crowd, kneels before Christ, professing in faith that Christ can heal him. Jesus touches the man, and simply and powerfully says, “I will. Be cleaned.” It is a stupendous, unprecedented miracle; the leper is healed.

In a prefigurement of how the Sacrament of Reconciliation draws the sinner back into full community with the Body of Christ, Christ invites the healed man back into full communion, telling him to follow the prescribed Jewish laws of cleansing overseen by a priest (Lev 14).

Awed by Jesus Christ – As the Son of God, Christ is Divine Mercy incarnate and is the Perfection of Virtue. The Divine Physician, Christ has the omniscience and omnipotence to supernaturally heal any sickness. Divine Priest, Christ prefigures the Sacrament of Confession and emphasizes the need for priests.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Men often fail to be awed by Christ’s miracles because they fail to think deeply. Look at images of leprosy on the internet and realize that Christ healed the leper instantaneously. Be awed.

2)  Jesus Christ is the perfection of manly virtue (from the Latin, vir, meaning man). Consider Christ’s courage as He fearlessly touches a leper and is willing to be considered “unclean.”  Vow to imitate Christ’s courage in proclaiming the Gospel, especially when the intolerant politically-correct culture seeks to silence you.

3) Jesus Christ demonstrates the Perfection of Divine Mercy. Study the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy (CCC 2447). Pick 1 Work of Mercy to do today.

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

This is what leprosy looks like:

Jesus continues the Sermon on the Mount, giving His disciples guidance for the journey towards Heaven.  After condemning false prophets (Matt 7:15-20), in Matthew 7:21-29, Jesus now reveals that false Christians can’t fool Him and confirms that true Christians accept and live the whole of Christ’s Gospel.

Jesus confirms His Judgment and that many do not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, shockingly, including even those who appear to be Christian.  Like the false prophets who spread confusion and immorality, Christ judges false Christians, who say, “Lord, Lord” and do pretentious acts of public piety, as evildoers who will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Christ sees through false words and false works and is the sole Judge of each man’s soul.

Rather than the formulaic or outer acts of piety of the Pharisees or the false prophets who mislead, whom Christ has already condemned, Christ calls men to a complete obedience to His Word. The parable of of The Wise Builder refers to the storms of life and confirms that only the absolute commitment to build one’s life on the solid rock of Christ’s Gospel will lead to salvation.

The crowds are in awe of Him because He speaks with divine authority; likely, they are also stunned by Christ’s assertion that He has the power to judge men’s souls and condemns even seemingly pious men.

Awed by Jesus Christ – The Son of God has divine authority that astonishes those who hear.  Divine Judge, Christ reveals that He has the wisdom and power to judge men and condemns many. Divine Teacher, Jesus uses timeless parables, based on His 30 years of growing up as the Son of Man, to instill the complete commitment to His Word.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) The clear words of Christ again confirms His serious call to perfection and that He is an extremely tough Judge. Read the Scripture passage again, imagining that you are present when Christ speaks.  Be awed by His manly toughness.

2) Christ condemns people pretending to be Christians; imagine His disdain for unrepentant atheists, murderers, rapists, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves and liars. Courageously, complete a rigorous Examine to confront your own sins.  Go to Confession.

3) Jesus gives the parable of the Wise Builder as a model for those who wish to be saved.  Commit to take action on 3 things to build your foundation on Christ, the Rock.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Luminous Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Holy Eucharist

Virtue of the Day – Fortitude