Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 20th Week in Ordinary time – Saturday– Matthew 23:1-12
After tolerating, but crushing, the repeated attacks by the Sadducees, Pharisees and scribes, in Matthew 23, Christ publicly (in the Temple!) warns that they are dangerous should not be followed. He begins by reasserting the importance of authority, pointing to the chair of Moses as the current authoritative teaching; in the New Covenant, Christ, the Son of God and Divine King is the exclusive authority and establishes the Chair of Peter (the papacy) and His Catholic Church to rule for Him.
Christ denounces the Jewish religious leadership with several criticisms: they put excessive religious burdens on the faithful; they don’t practice what they preach; they practice conscious piety; they pridefully seek attention and honor. Christ tells His disciples to avoid the Jewish leadership’s core sin of pride: “Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ. He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
Of note: Protestants (and some feminists) often foolishly and falsely use Christ’s “call no man father” to argue against Christ’s exclusive selection of men for the Catholic priesthood and addressing priests as “father.” Christ uses hyperbole (e.g. exaggeration) to denounce the hypocritical Pharisee’s prideful quest for honorific titles; Christ certainly doesn’t intend for children not to call their own biological father, “father” (or to not call a religious teacher, “rabbi” ). The Apostles understood Christ’s “call no man father” as hyperbole; they used “father” as a title for spiritual fatherhood (Peter, John, Paul all did this) and eventually the title “father” became routinely used for priests.
Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of Man, the perfection of Virtue, Christ courageously condemns His enemies in their supposed domain, the Temple. Divine King, Christ commands that His followers be obedient, humble and rigorous in the practice of the faith; denouncing the hypocrites to teach one thing and do another, Christ perfectly carries out His teachings, even unto death.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) The culture is unmanly; leaders use weasel words to avoid the truth or to manipulate and many men speak in cowardly “politically correct” words, afraid to say what they really think. Be awed by Christ’s bold and courteous speaking truth about the blatant sins and corruption of those in power. Commit to always speak the truth with charity.
2) Many Catholic men have left the Church or stopped practicing the faith because of the priest sex scandals and coverups by some bishops. Despite condemning scandalous behavior by Jewish leaders, Christ commands that men should continue to be obedient to the Jewish faith. Pray that Christ help you to continue to be faithful in the practice of the Catholic faith despite the despicable behavior of a small minority of bishops and priests.
3) Only 1 in 4 Catholic men consider themselves to be “practicing” Catholics. Reflect on Christ’s unwavering command for men to practice their faith and re-commit yourself to persevere in praying and reading Scripture daily, going to Confession frequently and fully engaging in every Sunday Mass.
Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers
Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries
Daily Devotion – The Blessed Virgin Mary
Virtue of the Day – Hope
Corporal Work of Mercy – To bury the dead
Spiritual Work of Mercy – To pray for the living and the dead