Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 16th Week in Ordinary time – Friday – Matthew 13:18-23
Continuing with His “Sermon in Parables” in Matthew 13, Christ reveals to His disciples an in-depth understanding of the Parable of the Sower. This magnificent parable describes the disposition of men to hear God, the Spiritual Combat, the confirmation of Satan’s work in the world and God’s high expectations of fruitfulness for His men.
Christ describes four different reactions (Soils) to God’s (the Sower) announcement (Sowing) of the word of Kingdom of Heaven (the Seed). Men who hear but don’t care to understand about the Kingdom (the path) are seduced by the Evil One/Satan (the birds). Men who hear but only have an initial shallow emotional reaction (rocky ground with shallow roots) fall away when tribulation/persecution (the scorching sun) occurs. Men who hear but prefer and are choked by the pleasures of the world (the thorns) fail to bear fruit. Men who hear, understand and persevere to enter the Kingdom (the good soil) bear extraordinary fruit (disciples, love) for the King.
Christ seeks men who will hear, understand, have an absolute commitment to the Kingdom of Heaven and who bear much fruit (the good soil). All others in Christ’s parable who do not give themselves to Him face bad outcomes: some are seduced by Satan (the path), others are “scorched” by troubles in the world and some are “choked” out by riches/pleasures and become sterile. Only the “good soil” men will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Awed by Jesus Christ – Divine King, Christ reveals the reactions of men to His Kingdom and accepts only men who understand and give themselves totally to bear signifiant fruit. Divine Teacher, Christ draws men to Him through parables that are memorable, approachable and mysterious. Divine Judge, Christ makes it clear that many men (the path, rocky ground, thorny ground) will fail to meet His expectations and will not enter into the eternal life of the Kingdom.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Christ’s description of the “soils” in the Parable of the Sower accurately describe today’s Catholic “man-crisis”; very few Catholic men (perhaps about 10%) fervently practice the faith and are passionate about making disciples. Marvel at Christ’s all-knowing and eternal understanding of the souls of men.
2) Christ condemns men’s sterile reactions (indifference, emotionalism, preference for the world) to His invitation to the Kingdom. Most men, at different times in their lives, are vulnerable to the pitfalls Christ describes. Examine your conscience for your own falterings and go to Confession.
3) Christ has extremely high expectations (100, 60 and 30 fold!) for the fruit (i.e. disciples) men fit for the Kingdom of Heaven must produce. These levels of fruitfulness are only possible for men who are moved by the Holy Spirit. With a hard eye and Holy Fear, face your own fruitfulness for Christ and ask Him to send the Holy Spirit to help you to be more fruitful.
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