Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 2nd Week of Advent – Thursday – Matthew 11:11-15
Responding to the disciples of the imprisoned John the Baptist (imprisoned by King Herod because John denounced Herod’s adulterous “marriage”), Christ quotes the prophesies of Isaiah that confirm He is the Messiah. Christ now exalts John the Baptist as the new Elijah to the crowds, publicly confirming that He (Christ) is the anticipated Messiah.
Christ begins by revealing that John the Baptist, the fierce and bold prophet who lived an austere life in the wilderness, is the greatest man (none greater) who has ever lived; this means that John is on par with all the Old Testament prophets (Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Daniel, Elijah). John’s greatness is because he is honored to announce Christ and to be among the first to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven (John will be murdered by Herod shortly). Christ puts human greatness in perspective; as great as John is on earth, the lowliest saint in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.
Though obscure, Christ seems to refer to the beginning of a new era of Spiritual Combat which men will wage in the age of the Messiah; men will do violent battle with evil and sin to make their way into the Christ’s Kingdom. Christ reveals that John the Baptist is the long-anticipated return of the Old Testament prophet Elijah, the one who will announce the Messiah; this is a stunning, for Christ is confirming that He is, indeed, the Messiah.
Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of God, Christ has a sweeping view of all Salvation History, knowing the impact and relative importance of all the prophets; He confirms the Kingdom of Heaven. Divine Prophet, Christ reveals that all Old Testament prophecies are being fulfilled through John the Baptist and His Incarnation. The Messiah, Christ confirms that He is the one long revealed in Scripture.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) The fast-twitch 24×7 news cycle bombards men with “urgent” information, overemphasizing the now while weakening men’s connection to the wisdom built over the vast sweep of human history. Marvel at Christ’s startling revelation that 700-year old prophecies are being fulfilled by Him.
2) By building communion with patron Saints, men find guidance, camaraderie and strength for the day-to-day Spiritual Combat. In prayer, enter into a “get to know you” conversation with John the Baptist, the man Christ reveals is the paramount of manhood.
3) Christ alludes to the active (violent) effort that men must make to “take” the Kingdom of Heaven. During this time of preparation of Advent, pray for Christ to help you engage in the Spiritual Combat with a new vigor and perseverance.
Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers
Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Luminous Mysteries
Daily Devotion – The Holy Eucharist
Virtue of the Day – Fortitude
Corporal Work of Mercy – To shelter the homeless
Spiritual Work of Mercy – To bear wrongs patiently