The daily Gospel reading from the Mass for Monday  of the 13th Week of Ordinary Time is Matthew 8:18-22.

Following the astounding Sermon on the Mount, Christ begins to publically demonstrate His miraculous power through the performance of 10 miracles (Matt 8:1-9:38). After healing the Centurion’s Servant, Peter’s mother and “all who were sick”,  Christ instructs the disciples to prepare a boat to go to the other side of the sea. At first glance this seems odd; a crowd gathers and Christ leaves. But Christ does not neglect the crowd, nor does He need “breathing room”; Christ is leading those willing to follow Him on His first foreign mission, a deliberate action to teach the disciples to push off into the unknown and cut all ties for the sake of the Gospel. 

Before departing across the Sea of Galilee, a scribe, an expert in Jewish law with the pedigree of life-long rigorous scripture study, calls Jesus, “Teacher”, a high honor given that Christ has no worldly scripture pedigree.  The scribe, likely having heard Christ’s magnificent Sermon on the Mount, has found the Messiah he has longed for His whole life; he is willing to leave everything to follow Christ.  Generously, Christ responds to the scribe with the stupendous revelation that He is the “Son o Man”, a title for the long-awaited messiah.  Christ offers the Scribe only Himself, for having voluntarily exiled Himself from Heaven to save mankind; He lives in abject poverty.   

Those who wish to follow Christ must “cross over” into the unknown, totally abandoning everything and to only hold fast to Christ. Christ’s blunt response (“Let the dead bury the dead. Follow Me”) to the disciple who asks for permission to bury his father is not a rejection of men’s duty to bury the dead (Gen 50:5, CCC 2447); Christ, perfectly keeps the Law and the Prophets. Rather, Christ is symbolically calling men from death to life and making it clear men must make an absolute commitment to follow Him to receive salvation. 

Awed by Jesus Christ – Christ affirms that He is the Son of Man, the messiah predicted for over a thousand years. Divine Teacher, Christ is recognized by pious scholars of His day and teaches with enduring and memorable words.  Divine King, Christ challenges disciples to unconditional commitment and complete trust. 

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) The scribe (think Ph.D. In Biblical Theology) is so convinced about Jesus Christ that he is willing to leave everything behind. Reflect on the fact that many of the greatest minds of men (e.g. Augustine, Aquinas, Doctors of the Church, etc.) have been absolutely convinced by the “logic” of Christ the Eternal Word.  

2) Modern men seek security through career, property, money, health insurance, etc.; while prudent, accumulating and holding on to assets can distract from pursuing God and can give a false sense of security.  Review the need for Poverty of the Heart (CCC 2544-2550) and pray for Christ to give you the courage to put your faith completely in Him. 

3) Sadly, many baptized Catholics fall into heresy, scandalously rejecting Christian funerals for themselves and loved ones (e.g. pagan “spreading of ashes”). Review the Catechism’s teaching on Sacramentals and Christian Funerals (CCC 1667-1690) and pray for Christ to help you make faithful arrangements for you and your loved ones to be buried in accordance with Church teachings.