Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 2nd Week of Advent – Friday – Matthew 11:16-19
The Gospel reading from the Mass for Friday of the 2nd Week of Advent is Matthew 11:16-19.
After mysteriously announcing to a large crowd that the imprisoned John the Baptist is the new Elijah, and by implication, that He (Christ) is the long-awaited Messiah, Christ rebukes the current generation for their unbelief.
Christ publicly rebukes His enemies (Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians), but uses veiled terms to confound their short-term plans to kill Him. Humiliating them by comparing full-grown men to pouting little children who play yelling games in the marketplace, Christ speaks of His joyous message (“We piped for you…”) that His enemies reject (“you did not dance”) and the Baptist’s call to repentance (“we wailed for you”) that His enemies also reject (“did not mourn”).
Christ reiterates His point about the childish and evil behavior of the Jewish elites by getting specific. While John is an ascetic who fasts and eats little, the Jewish leaders accuse the Baptist as being possessed by a demon. When Christ does the opposite of John by eating with sinners, the Jewish leaders accuse Him of being a glutton and drunkard (a slanderous lie). Christ ends with this: Wisdom (Jesus Christ Himself is Wisdom) is justified (proven true as the Messiah) by all her children (those who repent, are baptized and follow Christ).
Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of God, Christ is the Messiah who is Perfect Wisdom. Divine King, Christ courageously and slyly rebukes the Pharisees for their unbelief in veiled ways that thwarts their efforts to accuse Him. Divine Prophet, Christ uses poetic language that draws on the Old Testament (e.g. personifying Wisdom) and reveals His identity in mysterious ways.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Men respect men who have the gift of wisdom; to see what others don’t see, to ponder deeply and to express breakthrough insights. Reflect on the Infinite Wisdom of Wisdom itself, Jesus Christ the Word, who has come into the world for the salvation of men.
2) There are many false Christianities (e.g. the so-called prosperity gospel, nobody goes to Hell, the false mercy of downplaying/accepting sin, etc.) which require little self-examination and no true repentance, while falsely promising all the blessings of Christ. The true Gospel, preserved by His Church, makes is clear that men must repent (“to wail”) to be able to encounter Christ’s joy (“to pipe”). During Advent, review your need for Repentence (CCC 541, 674, 1425-1433, 1889, 1226), examine your conscience, repent, go to Confession and experience the joy of Christ’s Divine Mercy.
3) With abundance of food and a sedentary lifestyle, many men struggle with gluttony. In contrast, St. John the Baptist, like many saints, lived a life of strict mortification, in repentance for his sins and the sins of the world. During Advent, review the Catechism’s teaching on Gluttony and Mortification (CCC 1866, 1430, 2015, 2549) and pray for Christ to help you prepare for His Coming by repenting of your sins and mortifying your cravings.