Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 19th Week in Ordinary time – Wednesday – 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, Jesus 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 Christ – Divine 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 Jesus 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) Many men today are isolated, lonely and mired in the muck of sin. Beginning with His calling of the Apostles, Christ in this reading reveals the importance of fraternity to help convert men who have fallen away from the faith. Pray for Christ to help you build a new spirit of fraternity in your parish and to draw many Catholic men together in His service.
3) While building an interior life of prayer is an absolute requirement for salvation and essential in the ascent to sainthood, research shows the majority of Catholic men don’t pray regularly. Men simply can’t do Christ’s Will unless they persistently draw close to Him in prayer. Today, boldly make a solemn vow to Christ to pray every single day for the rest of your life and ask for His help to fulfill your vow.
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