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 next three Mass readings, Christ declares seven woes which stand in 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 condemn 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) Many who embrace sin and rebel against correction have constructed a false Jesus who, in one-dimensional mildness, makes no demands for men to repent from sin. Consider that the true Christ hates sin enough to die for it and deals harshly with those who obstinately oppose His Kingdom and refuse to repent from sin.
2) Like the false teachings of Pharisees, many within the Church twist or omit parts of the Catechism and promote their false interpretations of Church teachings. Reflect on Christ’s condemnation of false teachers (pray for wayward catechists!) and resolve to continue to learn the faith from orthodox teachers who teach the fullness of the faith and to study the entire Catechism.
3) Many men resist traditional Catholic piety and devotions, preferring to “do their own thing” when it comes to their devotional life. Reflect on Christ’s strong rebuke of the Pharisee’s confused practices and commit the disciplined practice of devotions (e.g Rosary, Divine Mercy, Missal prayers, etc.) that are formally recognized by the Church.
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