Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 18th Week in Ordinary time – Saturday – Matthew 17:14-20
The Gospel reading from the Mass for Saturday of the 18th Week of Ordinary Time is Matthew 17:14-20.
Having come down the mountain following the Transfiguration, Christ is confronted with a boy possessed by Satan and the lack of faith of His disciples. A crowd meets Christ near the mountain and a father solemnly and humbly kneels before Christ, drawn to Him in desperation and awed by Christ’s countenance after the Transfiguration. Calling Christ “Lord” and begging for mercy (In the Greek, Kyrie eleison!), the father describes the torment of the son, including the suffering of burns from falling in the fire and near drownings; the boy and his parents face chronic horror. The man incorrectly believes that the cycles of the moon (“lunatic”) have caused his son’s distress; the true cause is much more sinister.
Finding that His disciples failed to cure the boy, Christ gives an angry rebuke: “O faithless and perverse generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you?” These are exceptionally strong words which condemn His own disciples who fail to fully believe. Christ sees through the boy’s outward symptoms, detects a demon and promptly casts the demon out, healing the boy.
The disciples are perplexed as to why they were powerless to cast out the demon. Christ points to their lack of faith; all outward words and acts of disciples can only have lasting impact if it is Christ who is working through the disciple. Christ exhorts the disciples to seek faith, for even small faith (as small as a mustard seed) can achieve impossible supernatural things (to move a mountain with a word).
Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of God, Christ has supernatural awareness of the spiritual realm, including the unseen presence of demons. Divine King, Christ has absolute dominion over Creation, including Satan and every person; He is a tough leader who expresses His displeasure and rebukes His disciples for their mediocre faith. Divine Physician, full of Divine Mercy, Christ heals both the spiritual and physical maladies of suffering souls. Divine Teacher, Christ instructs His disciples to grow in faith using phrases that stick in the memory (e.g. Faith as small as a mustard seed).
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Every father knows the anguish seeing their child suffer; some know the grueling anguish of caring for a young child with chronic and incurable illness. Marvel at Christ’s mercy and His willingness to perform a miracle that eases the suffering of the boy and his father.
2) Throughout the Incarnation and by His Passion, Christ demonstrates His absolute power over Satan and His demons; Satan is real and a danger to men’s souls. Reflect upon Christ’s Power over Satan (CCC 421, 447, 539, 550, 566, 635-636, 1086, 1708) and pray for Christ to help you recognize Satan’s continual temptations and to deliver you from the Evil One.
3) Many men disrespect Christ at the Mass; wearing casual/sloppy clothing, failing to genuflect, socializing in the pews before or after Mass, receiving the Eucharist as if it were no more than a potato chip. Reflect on the necessity of true Adoration of Christ (CCC 347, 1178, 1183, 1378-1379, 1418, 2096, 2628, 2691, 2696) and pray for Christ to cause you to be awed in His presence like the father of the demon-possessed boy.
Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers
Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries
Daily Devotion – The Blessed Virgin Mary
Virtue of the Day – Hope
Corporal Work of Mercy – To bury the dead
Spiritual Work of Mercy – To pray for the living and the dead