Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional – Seventh Week in Ordinary Time – Thursday – Mark 9:41-50
In Mark 9:41-50, Jesus makes it crystal clear about how much He hates sin. While Christ loves His Creation, He reveals the existence of Hell (Gehenna) where those who die in unrepentant sin are sent. Gehenna was well known to His audience: a ravine near Jerusalem, it was where idolatrous Israelites performed child sacrifice (Jer 7:31) that was during Jesus’ time a garbage dump for festering dead animals that was perpetually burning. Christ describes Hell as an unquenchable fire where one is tormented by undying worms (Isa 66:24).
Who does Christ send to Gehenna? Those who lead the vunerable to sin. Those who gravely sin with their acts (hands, feet) and in their imaginings (their eyes).
In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ uses the similar strong words to condemn sexual sin directed at men, teaching that sexual thoughts about a woman (not a wife) is adultery, and using hyperbole to avoid adultery (gouging out one’s eye, cutting off one’s hand, a reference to masturbation) (Matt 5:27-30).
As an alternative to sin and damnation, Christ offers His followers examples of loving behaviors: kindness to the vunerable; speaking to others with truth and clear communication (reference to salt).
Awed by Jesus Christ – Jesus, the Divine Teacher, speaks with forceful clarity about sin and how to avoid it. As Divine Judge, Jesus warns of the torment of Hell and makes it clear that men are sent there. Jesus has the Power to save and condemn men.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Many today, even in the Church, either deny or downplay the reality of Hell. Jesus makes it clear the Hell is real and it is horrific. Evil atrocities are a daily feature in the media; reflect on the truth that the worst evil on earth is nothing compared to eternal Hell.
2) Jesus uses harsh words to warn men to avoid sin, words that are applicable to the sin of viewing pornography and masturbation. Reflect on the gravity of these sexual sins and resolve to battle temptation. Go to Confession if needed.
3) Jesus wants men to live good lives and to join Him in Heaven. Think about a couple of ways to please your King today. Now, make it happen.
Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers
Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Luminous Mysteries
Daily Devotion – The Holy Eucharist
Virtue of the Day – Fortitude