Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 24th Week in Ordinary time – Saturday – Luke 8:4-15
As Christ begins to proclaim the Gospel to the cities and towns of Galilee, He challenges the huge crowd that follows Him with the Parable of The Sower. A parable is short story that uses familiar images to draw the willing to ponder a cryptic deeper truth. Christ uses parables to draw the humble to ponder and hunger for God, to conceal His teachings from the prideful and to pronounce judgment on those who reject Him.
The Parable of the Sower uses familiar imagery the crowd would recognize; all were familiar with agriculture and Jews would recall that the “Sower” refers to God in the Old Testament (Isa 55:10-11; Jer 31:27-28). This magnificent parable describes the disposition of men to hear God, the Spiritual Combat, the confirmation of Satan’s work in the world and God’s expectations of men to be fruitful.
In private, Christ reveals to His disciples the secret in-depth understanding of the Parable of the Sower. He describes four different reactions (Soils) to Christ’s (the Sower) announcement (Sowing) of the word of Kingdom of Heaven (the Seed). Men who hear but don’t care to understand about the Kingdom (the path) are seduced by the Evil One/Satan (the birds). Men who hear but only have an initial shallow emotional reaction (rocky ground with shallow roots) fall away when tribulation/persecution (the scorching sun) occurs. Men who hear but prefer and are choked by the pleasures of the world (the thorns) fail to bear fruit. Men who hear, understand and persevere to enter the Kingdom (the good soil) bear extraordinary fruit (disciples, love) for the King.
Awed by Jesus Christ – Divine King, Christ reveals the reactions of men to His Kingdom and accepts only men who understand and willingly commit to bear signifiant fruit. Divine Teacher, full of Wisdom and the Greatest Orator, Christ uses compelling and memorable parables that draw on everyday experience to selectively teach those willing to hear. Divine Judge, Christ makes it clear that many men (the path, rocky ground, thorny ground) will fail to meet His expectations and will not enter into the eternal life of the Kingdom.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Christ’s description of the “soils” in the Parable of the Sower accurately describe today’s Catholic “man-crisis”; very few Catholic men (perhaps about 10%) fervently practice the faith and are passionate about making disciples. Marvel at Christ’s all-knowing and eternal understanding of the souls of men.
2) Christ warns of the obstacles of responding to His Word: some are seduced by Satan (the path), others are “scorched” by troubles in the world and some are “choked” out by riches/pleasures and become sterile. Pray for Christ, begging your King to protect, guide and strengthen you to bear the assaults of Satan and the world.
3) Christ has extremely high expectations (100, 60 and 30 fold!) for the fruit (i.e. disciples) men fit for the Kingdom of Heaven must produce. These levels of fruitfulness are only possible for men who are moved by the Holy Spirit. With a hard eye and Holy Fear, face your own fruitfulness for Christ and ask Him to send the Holy Spirit to help you to be more fruitful.
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