Jesus confirms His men must sacrifice and suffer the Cross to receive their reward. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Magnificence so he can continually take up the high work of the Spiritual Battle and by seeking the Virtue of Fraternity so he can strive to build bonds of brotherhood in his parish.
15th Week in Ordinary Time – Monday – Mt 10:34-11:1
After commanding the Apostles to evangelize, and warning of the division among people that being His disciple will bring, even division in families, Jesus concludes His Missionary Sermon (Mt 10) by further describing the costs and rewards of being one of His disciples.
Jesus reveals the startling truth that He has come, to “bring a sword”, an allusion to the division and conflict that will occur, even in families, as each person chooses to accept, or reject, Jesus and His Holy Catholic Church. Warning of the persecutions that come with proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus describes how His disciples will suffer rejection and alienation by their family members because of the Gospel. The Mediterranean and Jewish culture of the 1st century, and even today, valued family and 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) and reveals that those who love family members more than Him are “not worthy of Me.” Jesus 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 by Christ Jesus.
Besides the blessing of receiving Jesus and the Father, those who take the simple act of accepting and supporting the disciples in their missionary work receive an incredible reward; those who receive a disciple can be blessed with the same reward as a prophet or righteous man. Jesus reveals that even small acts of kindness to a disciple, such as giving a disciple a cup of water specifically because He is a disciple of Jesus, will result in incredible rewards.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Soberly consider the astounding level of commitment that Jesus, the Divine King, requires of His disciples: He comes with the specific objective to force men to choose to accept or reject Him (bring a sword); He invokes Vindication, a part of Justice in which rewards and punishments are rendered, whereby Jesus will Judge men as worthy and unworthy based on their choice to accept Him or not; He requires men to have a commitment to Him above all else, above family and even above a man’s own life; He promises just rewards for the worthy, who will gain eternal life, and for the unworthy, who will lose eternal life.
Be magnificent by engaging in the Spiritual Battle
Realize: Jesus’ “sword”, a deadly weapon of war, is confirmation of the deadly nature of Original Sin and the Spiritual Battle against the Evil One that Jesus and the Heavenly Host (“army of angels”) come to vanquish.
Believe: Reflect upon the Spiritual Battle (CCC 405, 407-409, 921, 1496, 2015, 2516, 2573, 2725, 2752).
Pray: Jesus, Divine King, help me build the Virtue of Magnificence (a part of Fortitude) so I take on the great work of courageously engaging and persevering in the never-ending battle against Satan in the Spiritual Battle.
Build deep fraternity in your parish
Realize: Jesus’ promises of reward for those who support His Holy Catholic Church, include not only the eternal blessings of Heaven, but also the blessing that, while a man is on earth, he can be in spiritual communion with other Catholics.
Believe: Reflect on the blessings of the Communion of Spiritual Goods (CCC 949-953).
Pray: Jesus, Uniter of Men, help me build the Virtue of Fraternity (a part of Justice) so I can draw into deeper communion and fraternity with many other Catholic men in my parish.