The Gospel reading from the Mass for Wednesday of the 19th Week of Ordinary Time is Matthew 18:15-20.

Having taught the Apostles to seek out the lost in the Parable of the Lost Sheep, Christ now gives practical direction as to how to bring a lost sheep back into the fold. Speaking to men using masculine terms, Christ reveals that some men stuck in persistent grave sin may repent if confronted with their sin by holy men.

Christ describes a three step process, using subsidiary (to solve problems at the lowest level possible), beginning with a man-to-man rebuke (fraternal correction) followed by a discussion with several men (witnesses) and finally a discussion with the local parish priest (the Church). After explicitly giving the power to bind/loose to Peter (Matt 16:19), in this teaching Christ gives Peter the ability to extend this power to bind/loose to bishops in their local congregations.

For those stubborn men, confused by evil and unwilling to turn from sin, Christ directs His men to shun those men like “a Gentile or tax collector” (those outside the covenant); this is consistent with Paul’s teaching to disassociate with those who persist in grave unrepentant sin (e.g. 1 Cor 5:9-13). The purpose is pastoral; the hope is that the unrepentant sinner will repent when he is shunned for his sinful rebellion by his brothers in the Church. Christ urges men to pray for wayward men, promising that He hears their prayers for He is in the midst of them.

Awed by Jesus ChristDivine King, Christ gives authority and rules to His appointed Apostles for the leading of the Church; He reinforces the need for Catholic fraternity/brotherhood. Divine Teacher, Christ blends masterful parables with practical advice about how to live out the Gospel. Divine Judge, through this teaching Christ previews His willingness to disassociate with unrepentant sinners in His Kingdom to come.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Rather than the false, non-offensive wishy-washy Christ so often promoted, the true Christ does not tolerate sin; He hates sin and is willing to die to defeat sin. Marvel at how Christ speaks directly to men using a masculine approach that blends merciful, but blunt, confrontation of those in sin with truth and offers tough consequences for men who won’t repent.

2) In contrast to Christ’s call for Catholic brotherhood, today, the majority of Catholic men do not have meaningful fraternity with other Catholic men/brothers. Reflect on the need for Catholic Brotherhood (CCC 788, 1271, 2074, 2233, 2790) and pray for Christ to help you build deep fraternity with other Catholic men in your parish.

3) Despite Christ’s explicit command for Catholic men to correct their brothers who are in obstinate sin, many men are afraid to speak the truth due to the oppressive culture of political correctness. Reflect upon the duty to bear Witness to Truth (CCC 932, 2471-2472) and pray for Christ to help you to Instruct the Ignorant and Admonish Sinners (Spiritual Works of Mercy; CCC 2447).

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