Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 20th Week in Ordinary time – Tuesday – Matthew 19:23-30
After the Rich Young Man’s refusal of Christ’s call to perfection and to give away his riches and follow Him, Christ and the disciples watch the Rich Young Man walk away. Saddened, Christ laments, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Christ’s jarring imagery clarifies the extreme difficulty for men to enter Heaven; despite their closeness of Christ and surprisingly unsure about their own fate, the disciples are greatly astonished.
Panicked at Christ’s call to perfection and His revelation of the extreme difficulty of entering Heaven, Peter voicing the disciples’ concern about their own fate, asks, “Who then can be saved?” Christ gazes intently at the disciples with a hint of dismay, perhaps in frustration for their unbelief, and replies, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” The Rich Young Man’s “good deeds” strategy can never work, for it is beyond imperfect men’s nature to achieve the riches of Heaven; only with God’s grace reshaping and elevating man’s nature can a man be saved.
Having realized the eternal jeopardy of the Rich Young Man’s “no”, Peter asks if the disciples’ “yes” is sufficient for Christ’s Grace. Christ, having given up the blessings of Heaven in the Incarnation, never asks His disciples to suffer something that He has not suffered and assures them their sacrifices of family, home and land in His Name will lead to eternal life. The Apostles, building on Christ’s establishment of Peter’s power to bind and loose in the Church (Matt 16:19), will assist Christ in ruling His Kingdom. Summing things up, Christ confirms “the first” (like the Rich Young Man) will be last, and “the last” (like the self-sacrificing Apostles) will be first.
Awed by Jesus Christ – Divine Truth, Christ states hard uncompromising truths that make men uncomfortable. Divine King, Christ describes His Kingdom of Heaven and that the Apostles will help Him rule. Divine Mercy, Christ assures that men who willingly sacrifice in His Name will be saved. Divine Judge, Christ speaks with authority, disclosing the difficulty of the wealthy to enter Heaven. Divine Teacher, Christ uses common imagery with uncommon twists to teach disciples.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) As growing numbers of men reject Christian morals, some Catholics downplay Christ’s call to repentance from sin because it is unpopular. Reflect on Christ’s immoveable standard of perfection and how He doesn’t water down truth to keep the Rich Young Man from turning away.
2) Men living in modern societies enjoy incredible wealth (like the Rich Young Man) compared to many billions in the developing world (real poverty). Reflect on your own many comforts and pray for Christ to help you battle the desire for riches/comfort and to grow in charity for the poor.
3) In their deepest dreams, men seek challenge and heroic action, to sacrifice for another; this is why “hero” movies are perennial favorites of men. Reflect on Christ’s promise of Heaven for those men who heroically sacrifice themselves in His Name; ask Christ to tell you what He is calling you to sacrifice for Him.
Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers
Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries
Daily Devotion – The Guardian Angels
Virtue of the Day – Justice
Corporal Work of Mercy – To clothe the naked
Spiritual Work of Mercy – To counsel the doubtful