The Gospel reading from the Mass for Wednesday of the 17th Week of Ordinary Time is Matthew 13:44-46.

Continuing with the “Sermon of Parables” about the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 13, Christ describes the experience of conversion and commitment when a man discovers Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven.

Christ describes two ways by which men have a conversion experience when they discover the immeasureable value of the Kingdom of Heaven which is always present and mysteriously hidden. Some men, not actively searching, stumble upon the Truth of Christ and His Kingdom like the man who finds the treasure buried in the field by accident. Other men diligently search for the Truth of Christ as the pearl merchant searches for a pearl of great value. Upon finding that thing of highest value, both men are converted; they recognize their treasure and their lives totally change.

Following true conversion, men make a commitment to break with the past to obtain the Kingdom of Heaven. Both men in the parables urgently spring into action. Both are emotionally charged and full of zeal; the pearl merchant is overwhelmed with joy after his arduous search. Both men make the “all in” commitment, sacrificing their old lives by selling everything to take possession of the treasure/pearl; Christ reiterates the need for “all in” commitment to obtain the treasure of Heaven when He tells the Rich Young Man to sell everything (Matt 19:21).

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of Man, Christ’s hand’s-on experience of His human nature gives Him deep insights into what men value, their emotional states and how to motivate them. Divine Teacher, Christ develops short powerful parables that intrigue men across time. Divine King, Christ reveals the Kingdom of Heaven and a model for how faithful men should value and react to the Kingdom.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) The Kingdom of God is not a democracy; God has absolute dominion in His Kingdom and Christ is the Perfect King. Marvel at the eternal truth of Christ’s Kingship and reflect on the implications for you.

2) Many men are casual in their faith and almost all men go through periods of being lukewarm. Reflect on the need for continual Conversion and Penance (CCC 1427-1433) and pray for Christ to help you to zealously preserve to turn from sin and grow in holiness.

3) A key driver of the Catholic “man-crisis” is the Church’s failure to follow Christ’s clear priority to evangelize men: Christ selects men as Apostles for He knows that men follow men; almost all of Christ’s parables use exclusively male characters and masculine themes which men can relate (e.g. builders, fishermen, farmers, wars, enemies, shepherds, kings), etc. Commit to work within your parish to help your priest to evangelize men.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Glorious Mysteries

Daily Devotion – Saint Joseph

Virtue of the Day – Temperance

Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the imprisoned

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To comfort the sorrowful