Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 17th Week in Ordinary time – Thursday – Matthew 13:47-53
The Gospel reading from the Mass for Thursday of the 17th Week of Ordinary Time is Matthew 13:47-53.
Completing the presentation of parables on the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 13, in the Parable of the Dragnet, Christ reiterates the fearsome coming Judgment that is coming to all men.
The Dragnet uses the familiar imagery of fishermen and their catch on the nearby Sea of Galilee. The dragnet (the end of the age) is cast out on the sea (the world of men) and fish of every kind (all men and women) are gathered. The dragnet is pulled ashore (the end of earthly life) and men (the Angels) sort (judged by Christ) and put the good fish (the saintly) into vessels (Heaven) and the bad (the evil) are thrown away (cast into Hell).
The Dragnet offers a number of insights. All men (of all ages, races, nationalities) are given the freedom to live, making choices for good and evil while on earth. All men will face the unavoidable Judgment at the End of the Age (and particular judgment upon their death). All men will be infallibly sorted by Christ’s Angels using the same criteria: goodness (Greek word translates literally as “beautiful”) or badness (Greek word literally translates as “rotten”). Christ, the Judge, will accept the good/beautiful/saintly men into Heaven and condemn the bad/rotten/evil men to Hell. Christ requires that the Apostles confirm they have understood; they will have no excuse for failing to spread the Gospel when their own Judgment day comes.
Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of God, Christ has intimate knowledge of God’s plans for the future of Man. Divine Prophet, Christ reveals the coming Judgment and the existence of Heaven and Hell. Divine Judge, Christ describes the sorting of men based on if they are good (righteousness) or bad (evil). Son of Man, Christ has inmate knowledge of daily life which He uses to craft impactful parables that resonate with His audience.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) The Incarnation is God’s deliberate act to live as a man and to draw men to Him. Look back at the parables in Matthew 13 and marvel at how Christ’s human nature provides Him with real world experience that appeals to men.
2) Christ’s parables which call men to seek the Kingdom include “carrots” (hidden treasures, valuable pearls) and “sticks” (fiery furnace, weeping an gnashing of teeth). Reflect upon Heaven and Hell (CCC 1023-1029; 1033-1037) and pray for Christ to more fully convert your heart, giving you a urgent hunger for Heaven and a visceral fear of Hell.
3) While death is a certainty for all men, death often comes unexpectedly, leaving men unprepared for their Judgment. Reflect on the Particular and Final Judgment (CCC 1021-1022; 1038-1041) and pray for Christ to give you the zeal each day to pursue sainthood so as to be prepared for your own Judgment.
Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers
Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Luminous Mysteries
Daily Devotion – The Holy Eucharist
Virtue of the Day – Fortitude
Corporal Work of Mercy – To shelter the homeless
Spiritual Work of Mercy – To bear wrongs patiently