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Matthew 17:22-27

The Word of God

As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, 'The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised.' And they were greatly distressed. When they reached Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax came to Peter and said, 'Does your teacher not pay the temple tax?' He said, 'Yes, he does.' And when he came home, Jesus spoke of it first, asking, 'What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their children or from others?' When Peter said, 'From others', Jesus said to him, 'Then the children are free. However, so that we do not give offence to them, go to the lake and cast a hook; take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a coin; take that and give it to them for you and me.'

Matthew 17:22-27
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • It is very natural that if you had left everything to follow an inspirational person and hear that they were going to be killed because of what they said and did that you would be distressed and perhaps disillusioned. Jesus leaves us in no doubt that as his followers we need to be astute and not naive. We live in societies formed by decisions and structures that are not necessarily shaped by justice or designed to build the Reign of God. This is where Christians are called to witness. We also need to keep ourselves grounded in God, in the reality around us and fulfill our obligations. However, we need not refrain from looking for the miraculous amid the mundane tasks of life.
    • Talk with the Lord about some of the things that you see or experience as unjust structures or practices in your daily life. Listen for his response to you.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Jesus is very clear on the fate that awaits him: death followed by the Resurrection. Like the disciples, I feel sad that this is the way, for him and for me. I spontaneously prefer to do without the suffering and death. I pray that I may see my own suffering and that of the world in the light of Jesus and his suffering. I am walking on the same way as Jesus did, and this is the road that will lead me to the resurrection, when my sadness will be turned into joy. I am not alone, Jesus is at my side.
    • The episode of the payment of the temple tax is not easy to understand. But it shows that the one who is going to be delivered to his murderers is nonetheless powerful. I ask for his protection in my difficulties.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • In the story about the coin, is Jesus perhaps having a private joke with Peter? Is he really saying, ’Don’t get irritated with the collectors: find a coin somewhere to give to them!’ Jesus never fought over small things: his concern was for people who were being burdened and dominated by others.
    • Jesus wanted people to be free to live their lives to the full, and that is his desire for you too. In your prayer, ask Him to free you from the fixations, irritations and trivialities that distract you from the fundamental task of growing in love and of playing your part in advancing the kingdom of God.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • The matter of Christ’s suffering comes up frequently in the Gospel - this is the second ‘prophecy’ of the passion. The fact the disciples became very sad suggests that they understood what he was saying but it did not sink into their minds as the passion narrative shows.
    • Suffering disorients us. We cannot understand it fully. Jesus brings meaning from it at a profound level which we cannot grasp, except in faith. Pray for a greater appreciation of the sufferings of Christ.
    • Jesus paid his dues. He respected those in authority, civil or religious, even when he did not agree with them.
    • Elsewhere in the Gospel of Mark he exclaims ‘Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ (Mark 12:17).