Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 6th Week in Ordinary Time – Monday – Mark 8:11-13
Traveling to the desolate area of the east shore of the Sea of Galilee in the area of the Decapolis (“ten cities”), Christ miraculously performed an act of mind-boggling scope; in the deserted location with no food available, Christ fed 4000 men (and many additional women and children) with bread and fish until they were full. It is a sign of such immensity so as to confirm His Divinity; no human being could perform such a sign.
Despite being among those fed by Christ, a group of Pharisees come forward and seek to challenge Christ. Pharisees (“Separated Ones”) were a dominant Jewish sect which believed that God would deliver Israel if minute details of religious practices were rigorously carried out; already, Christ had clashed with the Pharisees on multiple occasions. Now, the Pharisees argue with Christ, demanding He perform a sign from Heaven so as to test Him, similar to how Satan sought to test Christ in the Temptation. Blinded by their ideology and demanding that God conform to their expectations, the Pharisees have failed to grasp the miraculous sign of the Feeding of the 4000, despite having been fed themselves.
Frustrated and perhaps sorrowful for their hard-heartedness, Christ sighs deeply in spirit and rebukes the Pharisees, saying, “…no sign will be given to this generation.” Christ words condemn the Pharisees and recall God’s words to the rebellious Jews during the Exodus who refused to accept His many signs and were not allowed to enter into the Promised Land (Deut 1:35; 32:5). Unable to break through to the sinful Pharisees, Christ departs by boat.
Awed by Jesus Christ – Divine King, Christ confronts the curiosity and false faith of the Pharisees. Son of Man, Christ demonstrates the power of righteous indignation for those who seek to test Him. Divine Prophet, Christ mysteriously warns the hard-hearted Pharisees of their coming doom with Scripture references.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Marvel at Christ’s Divine Prudence: while He could effortlessly perform miraculous signs, Christ refuses to be tested by the hard-hearted Pharisees’, choosing to warn them of their coming peril using Scripture references they understood.
2) Like the Pharisees tried to test Christ by asking for a sign, men, during times of stress or doubt, sometimes test Christ to give signs or to provide a specific “acceptable” outcome. Realize that testing Christ is an act against faith (CCC 2119) and pray instead for Christ’s perfect will to be done.
3) Christ demonstrates considerable patience with the Pharisees despite their constant accusations and secret plots to kill him. Pray for Christ to help you grow in patience (a Spiritual Work of Mercy) during the struggles of everyday life and when you bear unjust wrongs (CCC 2447, 1825, 2219, 736, 1832).
Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers
Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries
Daily Devotion – The Souls in Purgatory
Virtue of the Day – Prudence
Corporal Work of Mercy – To give drink to the thirsty
Spiritual Work of Mercy – To instruct the ignorant