Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 1st Week of Advent – Monday – Matthew 8:5-11
The Gospel reading from the Mass for Monday of the 1st Week of Advent is Matthew 8:5-11.
Continuing to demonstrate His miraculous power through the performance of 10 miracles (Matt 8:1-9:38) after the Sermon on the Mount, Christ enters Capernaum and encounters a Roman Centurion, a soldier who commanded about a 100 soldiers. The Centurion, who has waited for Christ to appear, 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, Christ agrees immediately to “come and heal” the servant.
The Centurion calls Christ “Lord”, an astounding act for a Gentile Roman soldier of his rank, for Romans looked down upon the conquered Jews. In a further acknowledgment of Christ’s Divine Presence, the Centurion, full of faith, asks Christ to perform a healing miracle from a distance because of his unworthiness and because he knows that Jews were not allowed to enter a Gentile’s house (Acts 10:28). Remarkably, the Centurion has complete trust in Christ’s authority and supernatural power to perform miracles from afar.
Christ publicly acknowledges the extraordinary faith of the Centurion; Christ “marveled” (one of the few times recorded in the Gospel) and announces to the gathered crowd of Jews that the Gentile Centurion’s faith exceeds any expression of faith by Jews. Shockingly, Christ proclaims that Gentiles will be saved (i.e. from the east and west) and many Jews will not be saved; worse, Christ confirms that many Jews will be cast into Hell (v. 12 is omitted from today’s reading). Christ affirms the Centurion’s belief and He miraculously and instantly heals the servant from afar.
Awed by Jesus Christ – Son 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.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) The Advent (meaning, “coming, approach, arrival of Christ”) season is a period of devout and joyful expectation of Christ’s Second Coming. Marvel at how the Centurion anticipates Christ’s appearance and rushes to meet Him.
2) The Centurion’s extraordinary trust in Christ’s power and mercy causes Christ to marvel and Christ Himself demonstrates perfect filial (Latin, “of a son”) trust in the Father. Reflect upon Trust in God (CCC 177, 322, 397, 1817, 2734, 2738, 2797, 2861) and during Advent, pray for Christ to help you to trust Him in all things, small and large.
3) Christ confirms the reality of the Kingdom of Heaven and describes the joy of Heaven by comparing it to a great feast. During Advent, refresh your understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven (CCC 543-546, 1852, 2816-2821) and pray for Christ to help you desire eternal life with God.
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