Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 3rd Week in Ordinary Time – Sunday – Cycle A – Matt 4:12-23
Following the miraculous manifestation of God at Christ’s baptism and His grueling 40-day ordeal in the wilderness, Christ emerges from the wilderness and learns that John the Baptist has been arrested. Christ returns to the region of Galilee, first to His home-town of Nazareth and then relocates to the larger and more-important trading town of Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee.
Christ’s choice to begin His public ministry in Galilee both fulfills past prophecy (Isaiah 8:23-9:1) and establishes future prophecy. Looking to the past, the land of Galilee was home to the ancient Jewish tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali which were the first to be exiled 800 years earlier; now this region is the first to be redeemed by Christ. Looking to the future, Christ is the great light who will call all men, including Gentiles to Christ’s Catholic Church. In preparation, Christ urges all to repent and to prepare for the Kingdom of Heaven.
Christ’s calling of the first Apostles is stunning for a number of reasons. Acting more as a King than a rabbi, Christ calls His men to Himself; traditionally, men would choose the rabbi they wished to follow. Rather than finding a following among the learned or well-connected, Christ calls ordinary working-class men. It is also striking that simply by Christ’s call, all four of these Apostles immediately follow, leaving their livelihoods and possessions (their nets and boats); remarkably, James and John even leave their father Zebedee.
Awed by Jesus Christ – Divine Prophet, Christ fulfills ancient prophecy and through His words and actions sets future prophecy. Son of God, Christ has an immediate life-changing impact on the Apostles. Son of Man, Christ has an undeniable charisma that appeals to men. Divine King, Christ selects, attracts and converts men to build His Church.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Christ makes the startling announcement that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, confirming that God is establishing His kingship over the world through Christ. Recalling that men pray “Thy Kingdom come…” in the Lord’s Prayer, refresh your understanding of the Kingdom and why it is important to your life (CCC 541-570).
2) Many men are “stuck” in their faith lives, failing to know how to move forward in faith. Christ gives a clear first step in the holy life: “Repent.” Review the Church’s teachings on repentance (CCC 1422-1498) and turn to Christ in the Sacrament of Confession.
3) Most Catholic men do not yet realize they are called, just like Christ’s call to the Apostles, to evangelize, to be “fishers of men.” Update your understanding of your personal “prophetic office” (CCC 904-907) and pray for Christ to use you to build the Kingdom of Heaven.
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