Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 2nd Week of Advent – Tuesday – Matthew 18:12-14
The Gospel reading from the Mass for Tuesday of the 2nd Week of Advent is Matthew 18:12-14.
After calling the Apostles to be humble like a child and revealing the harsh consequences for those who lead others into sin (to have a millstone tied to one’s neck and being cast into sea; eternal fire), Christ describes the hunger that disciples must have to save souls. Disciples of Christ must be willing to take heroic action to bring souls to Christ.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep a marvelous parable which surely captured the attention, delight and surprise of the agrarian people who relied on flocks of sheep for wool, skins and meat. God (a man) has many souls (a flock of 100) for which He cares. When a single soul goes astray (the one lost sheep), God goes to great lengths (leaves the 99) to save the lost soul (find the lost sheep). Christ asks, “What man…would not leave the 99 in the wilderness…?”). The answer from men who guarded flocks is that no man would leave his large flock to be ravaged by wolves to save a single sheep! But God is not like man; He does search out for every single soul that is lost to sin; every single man who repents causes the saints and angels in Heaven to rejoice.
In this short parable, Christ offers several insights into God. God has a deep compassion for every soul He has created; each and every soul is precious to God. God loves every soul no matter how lost in sin the soul is. God is willing to go to unreasonable lengths (to leave the 99 for the 1) to return those lost to sin to the Kingdom of Heaven. Prior to this reading (Matt 18:1-9), Christ draws a child close, expresses His love and warns men of the horrible consequences that await those who lead a child into temptation; it is not the Father’s will that even “one of these little ones should perish.”
Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of God, Christ offers an inside view of God’s hunger for the salvation of souls. Divine Teacher, Christ brilliantly teaches with wonderfully complex, surprising and powerful parables which continue to speak to men. Divine Mercy, Christ longs to save all souls, even those scheming to kill Him.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Men have limited awareness of and a finite ability to address the suffering of others. Reflect on Christ’s personal awareness and concern for the salvation of every of the 7 billion+ souls currently on earth. Be awed that Christ personally cares for you and is willing to go to great lengths to bring you into the Kingdom.
2) Despite the depth and duration of a man’s sin as he wanders away from the Church, Christ joyfully welcomes all men who repent. During Advent, reflect upon the need to Reconcile with the Church (CCC 1443-1445), examine your conscience, go to Confession and be blessed the forgiveness of your sins by Christ.
3) Millions of women, with the support of millions of men, have murdered their children through the inherently evil act of abortion (CCC 2270-2275, 2322); in the U.S., over 58 million children have been killed. As you prepare for the birth of the Holy Child on Christmas, realize that it is not the will of the “Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” During this Advent, reflect upon the Gift of a Child (CCC 2373-2379) and pray to Christ for an end of abortion and that He might have mercy on all those who have killed their children and those who support abortion.