Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 21st Week in Ordinary time – Monday – Matthew 23:13-22
Following His scathing denouncement of the Pharisees and scribes, Christ wrathfully indicts them with seven woes for their unfaithfulness. “Woes” are a declaration of doom, curses that warn the unrepentant of God’s coming judgment. In the Matthew 13:13-32, Christ declares seven woes which stand in stark contrast to the seven blessings in the Beatitudes (Matt 5:3-12).
The first woe indicts the Pharisees for being hypocrites who refuse to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and “lock” their followers out of Heaven. The Pharisees’ rigid and distorted interpretation of the Torah (the five first books of the Old Testament) led men away from Israel’s Messiah, evidenced by the Pharisees continued attacks on Jesus, the Messiah. The second woe condemns the Pharisees for their dogged attempts to make zealous converts who join the Pharisees in becoming “child[ren] of Hell.”
The third woe condemns the Pharisees as “blind” for falsely interpreting Scripture in ridiculous ways in the area of oaths. They flail in the minutiae in determining which oaths are binding and which are not. In their failings, the Pharisees are illogical and myopic, thinking that little things (gold, gifts) are what matters while missing the greater realities (God; His Temple and altar).
Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of God, Christ inspires the Old Testament prophets to deliver woes and comes in person to offer final warnings to all men. Divine King, Christ displays wrath, violently condemning (“woes”, “blind fools”, “children of Hell”) those who rebelliously refuse to repent. Divine Prophet, Christ delivers scathing curses on the unrepentant. Divine Judge, Christ outlines His judgment of the Pharisees that, without dramatic conversion, will result in their damnation (to become children of Hell).
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Marvel and be filled with holy fear at how Christ hates sin enough to die for it and deals harshly (calling them “a child of hell”) with those, particularly religious leaders, who obstinately oppose His Kingdom, teach lies and refuse to repent from sin.
2) As Christ rebuked the Pharisees for their false teachings, so too will Christ rebuke those Catholic priests who today distort Church teachings to lead men astray. Review The Sacrament of Holy Orders in the Economy of Salvation (CCC 1539-1553) and pray for Christ to protect His priests from error and for the prudence and obedience to follow authentic teachings of the Church.
3) Christ rejects the Pharisees’ confused attempts to merit themselves redemption by their own efforts of rigorous religious practices. Renew your understanding Merit (CCC 2006-2011) and pray for Christ to give you the Grace to grow in merit by doing His will.
Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers
Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries
Daily Devotion – The Souls in Purgatory
Virtue of the Day – Prudence
Corporal Work of Mercy – To give drink to the thirsty
Spiritual Work of Mercy – To instruct the ignorant