Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional – 12th Week in Ordinary Time – Friday – Matthew 8:1-4
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: