Drawing the Missionary Sermon to the Apostles (Matt 10) to a close, Christ explains more of the costs and rewards of true discipleship.

Continuing the warning of the persecutions that come with proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven, Christ describes how His disciples will suffer rejection and alienation by their family members because of the Gospel. The Mediterranean/Jewish culture of the 1st century (and even today) valued family/kin bonds above almost all else. Christ’s emphatic revelation that disciples must be willing to be rejected by family for the sake of the Gospel is startling; He strongly states “I have not come to bring peace but a sword” (v. 34); He reveals that those who love family members more than Him are “not worthy of Me.” Christ calls on men to pick up their cross and to follow Him; this is how a man becomes worthy and is rewarded with eternal life.

Christ emphasizes that men must support His chosen Apostles. Revealing that receiving one of His disciples is to receive the Son and the Father, Christ promises rewards for those who receive and tend to the needs of Christ’s messengers.

Awed by Jesus ChristDivine King, Christ uses a militaristic example (the sword) to describe the unavoidable choice in the Spiritual Combat to either be with Him or against Him and calls men to support His Apostles.  Divine Prophet, Christ exhorts disciples to “pick up their cross” in sacrifice and foresees the harsh family divisions that will occur as some reject the Gospel. Divine Judge, Christ has high expectations of sacrifice for those He calls worthy and who will rewarded and saved.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Some modern men have promoted a false “Christianity” in which Jesus Christ as a non-judgmental “I’m o.k. You’re o.k.” kind of god. Christ condemns sin. Christ demands exclusive commitment to Himself, even if it means losing one’s family.  Reflect on the tough, uncompromising Christ who brings a sword, judges and gives both rewards and punishments.

2) Many poorly catechized Catholics are embracing non-sacramental marriage ceremonies (i.e. being married by a friend in a garden) or forgoing Catholic funerals (e.g. a ceremonial spreading of ashes in a favorite place). Catholics who wish to be faithful to Christ and His Church cannot attend such pagan events, for they deny or undermine the core teachings of the Church. Pray that Christ gives you the wisdom and courage to refuse to participate in such scandalous rituals.

3) Being a Catholic priest is difficult: Catholicism is ridiculed as being “out of step” with the new morality; priests are stigmatized due to the priest sex abuse scandals; many priests lack fraternity due to the drop in vocations. Like Christ calls men to support the Apostles, make a commitment to befriend and support priests.

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