Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional – 13th Week in Ordinary Time – Tuesday – Matthew 8:23-27
Having urged would-be followers to have absolute commitment to God and to be prepared for hardship in Spiritual Combat (Matt 8:18-22), Jesus tests the disciples in a rite of passage on the Sea of Galilee.
Though many are seasoned fishermen, the disciples are terrified of the great storm. The Greek word translated as “storm” is seismos (meaning “earthquake”), implying an unusually violent storm that threatens to swamp the sturdy fishing boat and drown the disciples. Convinced that death is near, they cry out, “Lord, save!” (Greek), which is the meaning of the Holy Name of Jesus (God saves).
Christ is sleeping soundly (the only time mentioned in the Gospel); perhaps He is exhausted from His grueling ministry. He awakes and first attends to the most important, harshly rebuking the disciples for being cowardly (original Greek) and for lacking faith. Christ then turns and loudly rebukes the storm, using the same command He uses when exorcising demons, hinting that Satan is attacking the disciples using the storm.
The same calm that Christ demonstrates while sleeping is suddenly manifested in Creation, as a “great calm” occurs. Having demonstrated dominion by proclaiming the New Convenant and healing the unhealable, Jesus continues to reveal Himself by asserting His absolute dominion over His Creation. The disciples are stunned by Christ’s supernatural power and are left wondering about Christ’s identity.
Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of Man, Jesus experiences exhaustion like other men. Son of God, Jesus Christ is omniscient, knowing how to calm a storm, and omnipotent, having the absolute power over Creation. Divine King, Jesus heroically defends His disciples against the attacks of Satan in the Spiritual Combat and also uses harsh trials to form His disciples.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Most men have been awed by the power of nature (e.g seeing a tornado, experiencing an earthquake, being threatened by a winter storm); some have had a brush with death in nature. Ponder the Almighty King who sleeps during storm that drives men to weep and who stops a hurricane with a word.
2) Men, whether they realize it or not, are engaged in the Spiritual Combat, in which Satan attacks and Christ saves; there is no opting out, no sitting on the sidelines. Reflect on how Satan is continually tempting you, often focusing on your current weakness (e.g to overeat, to sloth, to view pornography, etc.). Like the disciples, when Satan attacks, beg Christ with the plea, “Lord, save!” He will give you faith and peace.
3) Like the battered boat, the Church often appears to be floundering as Christ sleeps. Rebellious clergy create confusion and scandal within the Church; others fail to lead. Secular forces and false religions attack the Church from outside. Reflect on the truth that Satan can not prevail against Christ’s Church and pray for the faith and courage to serve the Almighty King,
Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers
Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries
Daily Devotion – The Guardian Angels
Virtue of the Day – Justice
Corporal Work of Mercy – To clothe the naked
Spiritual Work of Mercy – To counsel the doubtful