Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 15th Week in Ordinary Time – Tuesday – Matthew 11:20-24
The Gospel reading from the Mass for Tuesday of the 15th Week of Ordinary Time is Matthew 11:20-24.
Following the missionary instruction of the disciples and praise of John the Baptist, Christ pronounces doom (“Woe to you…”) upon a number of cities in Galilee because of their unwillingness to receive the Gospel. Despite Christ’s numerous miracles and preaching throughout Galilee, many people and towns failed to repent and grow in faith. Christ now condemns them, mercifully offering people the opportunity to repent while there is still time.
Christ begins by rebuking Chorazin and Bethsaida, two towns within a few hours walk from where He performed many “mighty deeds” (both Divine preaching and healing miracles). Because these towns remain unrepentant, Christ to expresses both anger and sorrow/condemnation (“Woe!”) at their lukewarmness and acceptance of sin. Chorazin and Bethsaida were predominately Jewish towns that rejected the Messiah and bore great guilt; because of the Messiah has come to them and been rejected or ignored, they will fare worse in the Judgment than the Gentile towns of Tyre and Sidon which God had previously promised to bring down judgment (Isa 23:1-17; Jer 25:22).
Christ has an even stronger rebuke for Capernaum, the town where He based His Galilean mission and spent much time preaching and performing mighty deeds. Earlier (Matt 10:15), Christ had revealed to the disciples that those towns that did not receive the disciples’ proclamation of the Gospel would suffer a fate worse then Sodom and Gomorrah, towns God destroyed with fire and brimstone due to homosexual sin. Capernaum will not be exalted in Heaven but will be cast into Hell and suffer a fate even worse than Sodom.
Awed by Jesus Christ – Person of the Trinity, Christ reveals the future state of whole groups of people who reject Him and the existence of Hell. Divine King, calls men, expects them to repent and seek holiness and offers harsh rebukes to those who ignore Him. Divine Judge, Christ refers to His Judgment and the truth that many will be cast into Hell.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Consider this with holy fear: while Christ is the perfection of Mercy, He is also the Divine Judge (CCC 678-682). Christ does not tolerate unrepentant sin and the rejection of the Gospel; with the Father from the beginning (John 1:1), Christ destroys Sodom and Gomorrah and condemns unrepentant cities during the Incarnation to an even worse fate.
2) Like Capernaum, many Catholic men are lukewarm (or cold), failing to truly repent and turn away from sin. Refresh your understanding of the Acts of the Penitent (CCC 1450-1460) and pray for Christ to help you to develop a deep hatred of sin and to repent fully and continually through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
3) Going beyond repentance, Catholic men are called by the Church to live a heroic daily life of prayer, sacraments and moral virtue. Review the basic requirements of the Precepts (CCC 2041-43) and pray for Christ to strengthen you to go beyond the minimum requirements and give Him your absolute best today and every 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