Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional – 13th Week in Ordinary Time – Thursday – Matthew 9:1-8
Having demonstrated His dominion over the Creation by the calming of the storm and the casting out of demons in pagan lands (Matt 8:23-34), Christ returns to His home city and publicly displays His authority in the New Covenant by forgiving sins and a miraculous healing.
Surrounded by a large crowd, some men carry a paralyzed man on a bed to Jesus, hoping for a miraculous physical healing. Seeing their faith, Jesus stuns the crowd by first focusing on the paralyzed man’s spiritual ills by forgiving his sins; this prefigures the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The scribes, experts in Jewish law, unaware that Jesus is God, silently condemn Him of blasphemy, a crime punishable by death; the Old Covenant dictated that sins could only be forgiven through the sacrificial system of the Temple.
Able to read men’s souls, Jesus bluntly rebukes the scribes for their evil thoughts. To prove He indeed has the authority to forgive sins, Jesus publicly proclaims to be the Son of Man (the long awaited Messiah) and miraculously heals the paralytic, who rises, picks up his bed and goes home.
Shocked into holy fear, the crowds spontaneously glorify God and marvel that Jesus has been given authority by God to forgive sins and miraculously cure the incurable.
Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of Man, Jesus boldly and courageously proclaims His identity and forgives sins, knowing He will be accused of blasphemy and eventually be killed. Divine Priest, Jesus lays the foundation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Jesus demonstrates His Divine Mercy and authority as the Son of God to forgive sins. Divine Physician, Jesus has the knowledge and power to know the inner thoughts of men and to miraculously heal devastating illness. Divine King, Jesus publicly rebukes the evil and erroneous thoughts of the well-educated scribes.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Despite trillions of dollars spent on modern medical technology, it is unusual for the paralyzed to be healed. Reread today’s Gospel, imaging that you are present when Christ miraculously heals the paralytic. Be awed.
2) Today, sin is ignored, explained away or even celebrated with pride. Realize the Christ first forgives sin and then heals the paralytic. Confront your own sins and go to Confession to be forgiven by Christ.
3) Christ demonstrates heroic manliness by bold and decisive charitable action, by publicly rebuking the powerful scribes and by His proclamation of His Divinity. Seeking to imitate Christ, identify several ways to live out your Catholic manhood today (e.g. charitable acts, confronting evil, being a witness for Christ).
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