Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 3rd Week of Advent – Wednesday – Luke 7:18b-23
After John the Baptist is imprisoned by King Herod for denouncing Herod’s adulterous marriage (Herod will ultimately murder John), John’s disciples visit to give comfort and keep John informed of Christ’s miraculous healings and preaching. Despite likely hearing about Christ’s miraculous birth from his parents, baptizing Christ in the Jordan and hearing of Christ’s many miracles, the imprisoned John the Baptist seems to harbor some doubts about Christ’s identity.
John the Baptist’s doubts may trace to several things. John preached a tough Redeemer who demands repentance and uses His winnowing fork to “gather the wheat” (saving the repentant) and “burns the chaff” (casting sinners into Hell); Christ preaches the need for repentance but has preached love and miraculously healed apparent sinners. Like many Jews, John may have expected a Messiah who would go for political power; Christ has been apolitical. John may also have been under extreme physical and mental torture while imprisoned and simply wanted reassurance as he anticipates his coming death.
Always compassionate, Christ responds by healing many people while John the Baptist’s disciples look on. Christ then confirms these specific kinds of miraculous healings are exactly what the prophet Isaiah predicted the Messiah would perform; healing the blind, the lame, lepers, the deaf, raising the dead and preaching the Gospel. In this, Christ unequivocally confirms He is the Messiah and gives consolation to the imprisoned John the Baptist.
Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of Man, Christ compassionately reassures the imprisoned John the Baptist that He is indeed the Messiah. Divine Prophet, Christ reveals that Old Testament prophecies are being fulfilled through His Incarnation. The Messiah, Christ confirms that He is the one long-awaited in Scripture.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Most of the miracles that continue to happen in today’s world by God’s grace go unnoticed or uncredited to God intervention. Reflect on Christ’s miraculous power to change the biological reality of those He heals.
2) Men who oppose recent attempts to deny the reality of the sexes (through “gender” proliferation) and marriage (through homosexual “marriage”) are ridiculed and persecuted. During Advent, pray to be courageous like St. John the Baptist and to profess the truth with prudence and humble charity.
3) Perhaps related to John the Baptist’s imprisonment, Christ calls men to visit the imprisoned as a Corporal Work of Mercy. During Advent, pray for those imprisoned and consider participating in Catholic prison ministries in the coming year.
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