Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 1st Week of Advent – Wednesday – Matthew 15:29-37
Christ withdraws along the Sea of Galilee to a mountain and is followed by a large crowd. Though He desires to be with the Father in solitude, Christ has a deep visceral reaction to the multitude of desperate Jews and Gentiles who seek Him. For three days, Christ tirelessly responds by miraculously curing all: the mute, the maimed, the lame and the blind.The multitude glorifies the God of Israel.
Christ, perfectly compassionate, knows the crowd is famished and weak after being in the wilderness for three days with no food; perhaps He is recalling His own fast in the desert for 40 days. The crowd are richly rewarded for their determination to be near Christ. Christ’s history-changing action by Feeding of the 4000 (Men) understates the miracle; when women and children are included, the count of those fed is much higher.
While the miracle of feeding thousands of people astounds, Christ’s action is much greater than simple feeding. Revealing Himself as the Divine Priest, Christ previews the liturgy of the Eucharist in the breaking of the bread, just as He will do at the Last Supper. He draws the 12 Apostles to Himself and allows them to mediate His Grace to mankind as they distribute the bread to the multitude; as priests after Christ’s Resurrection, the Apostles and their successors will feed billions of people with the Bread of Life in the Eucharist at every Mass. Christ seers the miracle into the minds of the 12 Apostles when they collect up the remains to find there was more bread than they had at the beginning; the 7 loaves had miraculously multiplied to feed the multitude and had now grown to fill 7 baskets.
Awed by Jesus Christ – Divine Mercy, Christ heals the sick and relieves the hunger of the multitude. Divine King and the Greatest Leader, Christ forms His apostles through participation in the miracle. Son of Man, Christ feels emotions deeply, particularly compassion for the suffering. Divine Priest, Christ’s replays the feeding of Israel with manna, previews the Eucharist and initiates the Apostles into priesthood.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Christ’s astounding miracles sometimes lose their impact on the modern reader. Consider this: using simple math and some reasonable assumptions, Christ miraculously provided a semi-truck load full of bread in the Feeding of the 4000.
2) Unlike Christ and the multitude who persevere in the tough conditions of the wilderness for three days, many in the prosperous modern society have lost the “hunger” to endure hardship and persevere. During Advent, return to the Church’s teaching to fast on Fridays, recalling Christ’s rewards for those who sacrifice and persevere.
3) Catholic men, like the majority of men, struggle with lust in this age of pervasive pornography. During these Advent days in which the Virgin, married to the chaste St. Joseph, will give birth to God, ask Christ to help you reject impurity and to grow in holiness.
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