Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 5th Week in Ordinary Time – Wednesday – Mark 7:14-23
After directly confronting and condemning the Pharisees for their man-made traditions which are in direct opposition to God’s laws, Christ exhorts a crowd to undergo an inner conversion and to reject empty man-made rituals. Though not fully revealed to the crowd, Christ is preparing for the New Covenant which will overturn the ritual practices (ritual washing, food restrictions, etc.) of the Old Covenant that separated Israel from the Gentiles and draw all men together in Christ.
Back at His lodging (likely, Peter’s home), the disciples are confused about Christ’s teaching. Christ rebukes the disciples for their lack of understanding and then patiently explains His teaching. Using simple biology, Christ confirms that food by itself cannot defile a man for it is eaten, digested and eliminated. Like children moving from milk to solid food, Christ’s New Covenant will eliminate the focus on dietary restrictions of the Old Covenant and focus men on the more substantial need to seek deep spiritual conversation.
Christ turns from the digestive system to the centrality of the heart; in the biblical sense, the heart is the center of a man from which good and evil decisions originate that lead to holy or sinful deeds. Christ points to the greater spiritual truth that a man’s true defilement is sinfulness brought on by an impure heart: “evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.” Because of these kinds of vices, men must repent and undergo a conversion of their heart and to live with the higher purpose of loving of God and neighbor.
Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of God and Divine Prophet, Christ has the authority to set aside Mosaic dietary restrictions and establish the New Covenant. Divine King, Christ bluntly rebukes His disciples and offers private direction to prepare them for their future leadership roles. Divine Teacher, Christ uses parables and examples to help disciples to understand. Divine Judge, Christ definitively condemns sinful behavior.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Christ is the greatest developer of men in history, systematically training the 12 Apostles over a three year period to lead the Catholic Church, the greatest Institution on earth. Marvel at how Christ personally trains His disciples by offering them blunt feedback and clear teaching.
2) The modern world’s dark spiral into sin is caused by a rejection of objective standards of morality in which each man chooses what is right and wrong. Review the Church’s teaching about the Moral Life (CCC 1950-1986) and pray for Christ to help you embrace a life of holiness.
3) Christ calls men to inner conversion, confirming that men must purify their hearts. Read about Purification of the Heart (CCC 2517-2519) and pray for Christ to help you to grow in purity.
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