Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 2nd Week of Advent – Friday – 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”).
Jesus 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 Jesus 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.
2) The Church, guided by Christ, has established the annual liturgy which deliberately celebrates specific Scripture in the Mass every day of the year. Because Advent is a time of preparation for Christ, the Church has a number of daily Gospels which focus on John the Baptist who is preparing the way for Christ. Incorporate John the Baptist’s emphasis on fasting and repentance as you prepare for Christ’s birth.
3) While Advent is a time of repentance and austerity, it is also a time of great anticipation and joy of the coming of Christ. Spend some time today anticipating the joyous celebration of the most spectacular event in history: the Nativity of our Lord Christ Jesus.
Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers
Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries
Daily Devotion – The Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ
Virtue of the Day – Faith
Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the sick
Spiritual Work of Mercy – To forgive all injuries