Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 28th Week in Ordinary time – Sunday – Cycle C – Luke 17:11-19
After warning the disciples of the damnation that comes to those who lead others into sin and commanding them to humbly do their duty, Christ demonstrates His Divine Mercy by miraculously healing 10 lepers. Leprosy is a devastating illness (though curable today) that ravages the bodies of lepers. Worse, since leprosy made a man “unclean” by Jewish law (Lev 13-14) and was contagious, lepers were outcasts who were forced to live outside of cities, shut out from the covenant life of Israel.
Though they were neighbors who shared some common Jewish blood, Samaritans and Jews were hostile to and avoided each other. But in the trauma of leprosy, a Samaritan leper banded together with 9 Jews in their social exile. Begging for Christ’s mercy from a distance (as was required by Jewish law), Christ tells them to “show yourselves to the priests” (another Jewish law requirement to confirm healing; Lev 14) and they are healed on the way. In this, Christ prefigures how the Sacrament of Reconciliation draws the sinner back into full community with the Body of Christ, just as cleansed lepers are allowed back into Jewish society by being declared clean by a priest.
Only the Samaritan returns to Christ Jesus, joyfully praising God and falling prostrate at Christ’s feet. Christ confirms His Divinity as the Samaritan gives “praise to God” and publicly rebukes the 9 Jews who have failed to be grateful to Him. Previewing His salvation to all men including Jews and Gentiles (Samaritans), Christ says, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” While Christ healed the bodies of the 10 lepers, only the Samaritan, who’s faith is confirmed by his adoration and gratitude of Christ, is given the eternal blessing of the salvation of his soul (“your faith has made you well”).
Awed by Jesus Christ – As the Son of God, Christ is Divine Mercy incarnate and is the Perfection of Virtue. The Divine Physician, Christ has the omniscience and omnipotence to supernaturally heal any sickness. Divine Priest, Christ prefigures the Sacrament of Confession and emphasizes the need for priests.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Men often fail to be awed by Christ’s miracles because they fail to think deeply. Look at images of leprosy on the internet and realize that Christ healed the 10 lepers instantaneously. Be awed.
2) While the majority of Catholic men (80%) fail to draw close to Christ in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, sometimes even those men who do go to Confession fail to be moved by Christ’s forgiveness. Reflect on the truth that Christ’s healing of your mortal sin in the Sacrament of Confession is an infinitely greater miracle than if He healed you of an incurable disease. Commit to go to Confession this week and pray that Christ fill you with profound gratitude and joy at His forgiveness in the Sacrament of Confession.
3) Like the Samaritans and Jews, men are territorial, separating into “tribes” based on race, religion, age, class, nationality, interests, etc. Reflect on how the trauma of leprosy bonded the Samaritan and Jews together in today’s Gospel and how every Catholic man should bond together with all men, recognizing common sinfulness and need for salvation in Christ. Pray for Christ to help you call every man your brother.
Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers
Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Glorious Mysteries
Daily Devotion – The Blessed Trinity
Virtue of the Day – Charity
Corporal Work of Mercy – To feed the hungry
Spiritual Work of Mercy – To admonish the sinner