Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 15th Week in Ordinary time – Friday – Matthew 12:1-8
After promising rest for the burdened (Matt 11:28-29), Christ now turns to the importance of the Sabbath as a day of rest and mercy. Jesus is directly accused by the Pharisees for breaking the law because His disciples plucked grain to eat on the Sabbath. The Pharisees, in their self-reliant attempts to achieve holiness to gain God’s favor, had extended Moses ritual laws that forbid harvesting grain on the Sabbath to include even plucking grain by the hungry.
Christ humiliates (“Have you not read”) the prideful Pharisees with a harsh rebuke that exposes their lack of understanding of Scripture by offering two examples (i.e. David’s men ate showbread; priests were guiltless for handling the bread of Presence). Remarkably, Christ offers a sign of His Eucharist in this encounter by references to grain/bread: the plucking of grain; the mention of showbread and priests who profane (a reference to the bread of Presence). Christ further humiliates the Pharisees for their lack of Scripture knowledge by quoting, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” and also rebukes them for their false condemnation of His disciples.
Christ mysteriously disclosures His Divinity in this encounter. His assertion that “something greater than the Temple is here” is a history upending claim. The Jewish belief was that the Temple housed God Himself and the ritual sacrificial system in the Temple that relieved sin dated back over a thousand years to Moses. Christ makes another shocking proclamation of His Divinity: “The Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath.”
Awed by Jesus Christ – Person of the Trinity, Christ is the author of God’s laws passed down in Scripture. Son of God, Christ asserts His Divinity. Divine Prophet, Christ teaches through powerful events which reveal the astonishing truth of the Eucharist and the ending of Jewish religious practices that stood for over a thousand years. Divine King and Teacher, Christ speaks with authority, rebuking the powerful Pharisees and correcting their misinterpretation of Scripture.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) All Scripture was inspired by Jesus Christ to reveal Himself. Marvel that Christ uses references about grain/bread/sacrifice embedded in the Old Testament, references Christ inspired Himself, which mysteriously point to the future revelation of the bread of the Eucharist.
2) A common tactic used to silence discussion about truth is accuse an opponent of being bigoted, insensitive or phobic. While Christ is Divine Mercy, He was also tough-minded and combative when confronting evil or falsehood and fearless in His public rebuke of the powerful. Pray that Christ guide you to growing knowledge of Truth and Mercy and to give you a courageous heart to proclaim the Gospel.
3) For many, Sunday is only a weekend day of relaxation or another work day. Jesus Christ accepted the Crucifixion to save men from their sins and rose on Sunday. In thanksgiving, Catholics are obligated (i.e. must do to avoid a state of mortal sin – CCC 2181) to attend Mass every Sunday (CCC 2041) and keep Sunday holy (Deut 5:12). Commit to never miss Mass and to grow in holiness on every Sunday (CCC 2184-2188).
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