Having instructed the disciples to avoid anxiousness through a fervent faith in God, Christ urges His men to be watchmen and warns His priests and other leaders of their extreme responsibility and accountability for overseeing the Church.

The parable of the Watchful Slaves is striking for its blunt militaristic tone. Addressed to men, the parable draws upon men’s natural instinct to be protectors and their roles in society to be watchmen on the walls of the cities. Christ calls men to “gird their loins”, a command given to fighting men as they prepare for an attack; this is an allusion to the reality of being on guard in the Spiritual Combat.  Also striking in Christ’s referral to His men as “slaves”, a clear indicator that men need to be humble servants to Him. He warns men to be on guard throughout the night, a time when thieves attack and Satan prowls in the darkness.  But Christ also promises an incentive to those who persevere; these good men will feast with the King in the eternal banquet.

Peter, growing in his leadership, perceives that Christ’s parable has an implication for His Apostles and asks for clarification. In response, Christ gives the parable of The Faithful and Unfaithful Slave, directed to both Apostles (priests in the Church) and disciples called to lead. Christ’s meaning is clear: As the Master, Christ demands that His priests and other leaders follow His instructions and that there are severe punishments for those who fail to do His will.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ offers insight into the nature of the Spiritual Combat and Judgment.  Divine King, Christ rallies His men using military imagery (gird your loins) and with strict instructions and accountability. Divine Judge, Christ reveals that men blessed with much are held to higher standards and that those who abuse their positions of leadership in the Church will face severe punishments.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) In a culture where personal independence is fiercely promoted, these two parables can be jarring to men; Christ is speaking of His Kingship, the subservient responsibilities of His men and the clear way in which He will hold His leaders accountable. Reflect on Christ’s militaristic language and the blunt way in which He describes how each man will be held to account.

2) Christ’s response to Peter in the parable of The Faithful and Unfaithful Slave reveals that Christ will severely punish the leaders of the Church who fail to do His will. Bishops and priests bear a heavy responsibility for their longterm failure to effectively evangelize men and the worsening Catholic “man-crisis.”  Pray that Christ guide and strengthen bishops and priests to make it a priority to evangelize men and to preach the fullness of Catholic truth.

3) Christ’s exhortation for men to “gird your loins” underscores the truth about the Spiritual Combat in which men are under constant attack by Satan. Recognize Christ’s truth that you personally are engaged in a grueling day-to-day Spiritual Combat and ask for Him to protect, guide and prepare you for battle.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Glorious Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Blessed Trinity

Virtue of the Day – Charity

Corporal Work of Mercy – To feed the hungry

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To admonish the sinner