Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 3rd Week in Ordinary Time – Wednesday – Mark 4:1-20
Continuing to teach the great crowds by the Sea of Galilee, Christ speaks from boat on the water to teach those standing on the shore; using His knowledge of natural acoustics and His robust voice, the thousands on the shore can hear Him. Christ teaches with parables; a parable is short story that uses familiar images to help receptive men to ponder a cryptic deeper truth. Christ uses parables to draw the humble to ponder and hunger for God, to conceal His teachings from the prideful and to pronounce judgment on those who reject Him.
In the Parable of the Sower, Christ uses familiar imagery to connect with the crowd; all were familiar with agriculture and Jews would recall that the “Sower” often refers to God in the Old Testament (Isa 55:10-11; Jer 31:27-28). Later, Christ reveals to His disciples an in-depth understanding of the Parable of the Sower. He describes four different reactions (Soils) to God’s (the Sower) announcement (Sowing) of the word of Kingdom of Heaven (the Seed). Men who hear but don’t care to understand about the Kingdom (the path) are seduced by the Evil One/Satan (the birds). Men who hear but only have an initial shallow emotional reaction (rocky ground with shallow roots) fall away when tribulation/persecution (the scorching sun) occurs. Men who hear but prefer and are choked by the pleasures of the world (the thorns) fail to bear fruit. Men who hear, understand and persevere to enter the Kingdom (the good soil) bear extraordinary fruit (disciples, love) for the King.
Christ seeks men who will hear, understand, have faith in the Kingdom of Heaven and who bear much fruit (the good soil). All others in Christ’s parable who fail in faith face bad outcomes: some are seduced by Satan (the path), others are “scorched” by troubles in the world and some are “choked” out by riches/pleasures and become sterile. Only the “good soil” men will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of Man, Christ uses His knowledge of physics, His immense physical power and stamina to be heard by large crowds. Divine Teacher, Christ uses compelling and memorable parables that draw on everyday experience to selectively teach those willing to hear. Divine Judge, Christ makes it clear that many men (the path, rocky ground, thorny ground) will fail to meet His expectations and will not enter into the eternal life of the Kingdom. Divine King, Christ purposefully established a hierarchy for the Church by giving authority, the Sacraments and deeper teaching to the Apostles.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Marvel at Christ’s robust physical power that allows His manly voice to be heard by thousands despite the noisy seaside setting.
3) In the Parable of the Sower, Christ calls men to a robust and enduring faith; He condemns men’s lack of faith (indifference, emotionalism, preference for the world). Review the Church’s teaching about Faith (CCC 142-165) and pray for Christ to help you to grow in faith and to become “good soil.”
3) Christ’s extremely high expectations (100, 60 and 30 fold!) for men’s fruitfulness is only possible to those who receive the deep faith given by Christ to those who love Him. Review the Church’s teaching on Justification, Grace and Merit (CCC 1987-2029) and pray for Christ to help you to grow in faith, allowing you to be fruitful in His vineyard.
Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers
Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Glorious Mysteries
Daily Devotion – Saint Joseph
Virtue of the Day – Temperance
Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the imprisoned
Spiritual Work of Mercy – To comfort the sorrowful