Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 11th Week in Ordinary Time – Tuesday – Matthew 5:43-48
The daily Gospel reading from the Mass for Tuesday of the 11th Week of Ordinary Time is Matt 5:43-48.
Christ continues to reveal the New Covenant in the Sermon on the Mount with the stunning command for His followers to love everyone, including enemies. He begins by summarizing a common understanding of the Old Covenant (Lev 19:18; Deut 20) as, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” Many Jews restricted the definition of “neighbor” to Jews only, hating or shunning the occupying Romans and other Gentiles.
Christ makes a shocking commandment that men must love and pray for enemies who persecute them if they are to be children of God. He puts men in their place, calling them “children” while reminding them of their own dependence on the Heavenly Father (for rain and sun) and that it is God’s mysterious will to allow the evil to exist.
Christ denounces men’s lukewarm attempts to love, comparing them unfavorably to tax collectors and pagans, revealing men gain no merit without loving enemies. So there is no confusion about the the extraordinary love He commands His followers to live out, Christ insists they must be “perfect” using God’s perfect love as the standard.
Awed by Jesus Christ – Almighty King of all Creation, Christ commands that those who wish to be children of God must love their enemies with perfection. The omnipotent Divine Teacher, Christ confirms the Heavenly Father’s willingness to allow both good and bad men to survive and confirms man’s absolute dependence on God.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Christ is often falsely portrayed as kind of a permissive mother who makes no demands and whose mercy tolerates any and every unrepentant sin. Be awed by Christ’a manly demand for perfection in love as a requirement of those who wish to be children of Father.
2) Christ specifically calls Catholic men to love enemies; to be a disciple of Christ, men must love every single person. Reflect upon the Catechism’s teaching on the Love of Enemies (CCC 1825, 1933, 1968, 2262, 2303, 2647, 2844) and ask Christ to help you specifically Identify, forgive and love those who have done evil to you.
3) Many Catholic men are not only failing to aspire to perfection but are failing to keep even the basic Precepts of the Church (CCC 2041-2043). Reflect on Christ’s non-negotiable Call to Perfection (CCC 1693, 2013) and pray for Christ to help you to grow in holiness each day.
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