Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 19th Week in Ordinary time – Tuesday – Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14
The Gospel reading from the Mass for Tuesday of the 19th Week of Ordinary Time is Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14.
Following Christ’s appointment of Peter as the “Rock” and Peter’s growing leadership, the disciples, perhaps in competitive jostling, ask Christ, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Christ is, of course! Never willing to miss an opportunity to call men to sainthood, Christ does the unexpected: to address the issue of greatness, Christ calls a child to Himself. Children in the first century were practically nonentities: children had no rights, little protection if the father was absent, did hard labor and newborns were often rejected by fathers and left out at garbage dumps to die.
In a rebuke to the disciples who seek greatness, Christ paradoxically uses a child to teach that the humility of a child is the key to greatness in Heaven. He goes further, saying that unless a man repents (turns) and becomes humble like a child, he will never even enter the Kingdom. Christ directs men to receive a child like they would receive Christ Himself. Omitted in today’s reading (Matt 18:6-9), Christ describes the damnation of those who corrupt children in sin and gives harsh actions (i.e. self-mutilation) to avoid the temptation to hurt a child.
Reinforcing His point about His concern about the protection of children (and all souls), Christ offers the memorable Parable of the Lost Sheep. The Good Shepherd (Christ), so loves His flock (souls) that He seeks out and rejoices when He finds the one lost sheep (a sinner who has gone astray); He confirms that it is His Father in Heaven’s will that not one little one would be lost.
Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of God, Christ has personal knowledge of the mysteries of Heaven and explains the Father’s personal attention to and love of every soul. Divine Judge, Christ confirms that some don’t make it into Heaven and offers some criteria for acceptance into Heaven. Divine King, Christ sets the bar high for men and gives harsh disciplines to avoid sin. Divine Teacher, Christ gives the “evergreen” Parable of The Lost Sheep, which has captured the attention of men for 2 millennia.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) The removal of verses (v. 6-9,11) in today’s Gospel which condemn those in authority (including priests) who abuse/pervert children is an outrage which censors Christ and fails to teach the truth that child abusers (including the epidemic of homosexual priest crimes against children) are culpable and will be harshly judged; sadly, most Sacred Scripture that condemns homosexuality is also censored from the post-Vatican II Roman Missal. Reflect upon Sacred Scripture in the Life of the Church (CCC 131-133, 141) and be diligent to learn and teach your children the fullness of Truth.
2) The criminal sexual attacks on young boys and the homosexual harassment of seminarians by Catholic clergy are sexual abominations, a breaking of the sacred priestly vow to be celibate and spiritual incest: spiritual fathers (i.e. priests) who commit homosexual acts with any person (i.e. a spiritual child) are guilt of spiritual incest. Review the Church’s teaching on Incest (CCC 2388-2389), Celibacy (CCC 1579-1580, 1599) and Homosexuality (CCC 2357-2359) and pray for all priests mired in mortal sin to repent and be forgiven.
3) Re-read Matthew 18:1-14: Christ would never encourage/support a woman who wished to kill/abort her child for any reason. Review the Catechism on Abortion (CCC 2270-2275) and pray for Christ to help you oppose Satan’s widespread promotion of child-killing.