Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 6th Week in Ordinary Time – Tuesday – Mark 8:14-21
After miraculously Feeding the 4000 and being confronted by the disbelieving and treacherous Pharisees who demand another sign from Heaven, Christ rebukes the Pharisees and departs with the Apostles by boat to cross the Sea of Galilee.
Despite the Feeding of the 4000 which left 7 baskets full of leftover bread, the Apostles have somehow only brought one loaf of bread for their passage. Returning the Apostle’s attention to the hard-heartedness of the Pharisees, Christ warns them of how poisonous ideology (like the Pharisees and Herod), even in small amounts, negatively affects individuals and societies like a small amount of leaven (yeast) affects a whole batch of dough. The Apostles, perhaps being driven by their hunger or because they are simply spiritually dense, are confused and continue to focus on the lack of physical bread.
Christ rebukes the Apostles for their lack of understanding, perception, memory and inability to grasp what they have seen and heard (an echo of earlier condemnations of Israel; Jer 5:21; Isa 6:9-10); worse, Christ asks them if they are hard-hearted. Questioning them further, Christ forces them to recall the remains of 12 baskets and 7 baskets from His feeding miracles ; though cryptic, Christ likely refers to His offer of salvation to the 12 tribes of Israel and the Gentile nations who make up the rest of mankind (“7” represents completeness and perception in the Bible).
Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of Man, Christ has a definitive methodology, remarkably ensuring that exactly 12 and 7 baskets are left over from His miracles. Divine King, Christ is close to His men and continually forms and prepares them for their mission to evangelize the world. Divine Prophet, Christ speaks truth with bluntness, echoing the words of earlier prophets He inspired.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Christ’s ability to multiple bread and fish to feed thousands of people is miraculous; to engineer the result to have exactly 12 and 7 baskets of remains is astounding. Be awed.
2) Across the thousands of years of Salvation History, Christ lays the groundwork for the gift of His Body and Blood in the Eucharist: Melchizedek’s blessing (Gen 14:18-20), the gift of manna in the desert (Exod 16 ), the Feeding of the 5000 and 4000. Marvel at Christ’s deliberate gift of the Eucharist (CCC 1333-1344) and pray to grow in love and devotion to the Body and Blood of Christ.
3) Many men are lazy when it comes to growing in faith. Consider Christ’s blunt rebuke of the Apostles’ failure to reflect upon and understand His miracles. Review the “Characteristics of Faith” (CCC 153-165) and pray for Christ to help you grow in your zeal and pursuit of understanding of your Catholic faith.
Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers
Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries
Daily Devotion – The Guardian Angels
Virtue of the Day – Justice
Corporal Work of Mercy – To clothe the naked
Spiritual Work of Mercy – To counsel the doubtful