On day when they were together in Galilee, Jesus said to his disciples, «The Son of Man will be delivered into human hands, and they will kill him. But He will rise on the third day». The Twelve were deeply grieved.
When they returned to Capernaum, the Temple tax collectors came to Peter and asked him, «Does your master pay the temple tax?». He answered, «Certainly». Peter then entered the house, but immediately Jesus asked him, «What do you think, Simon? Who pay taxes or tributes to the kings of the earth: their sons or the other people?». Peter replied, «The others». And Jesus told him, «The sons, then, are tax-free. But so as not to offend these people, go to the sea, throw in a hook and open the mouth of the first fish you catch. You will find a coin in it, take it and let it pay for you and for me».
Jesus is our best model for the discernment. There is something very important for Jesus; His death and resurrection. However, there is something of very less importance; paying the tax. Our human discernment will push us to choose the first and later the second. Jesus seems to take the second. It is because of His love for the people, particularly the weak and poor, so that they may not be scandalised by this behaviour of not paying the tax. The disciples will learn the importance the people around them and the lesson received from the Lord. Everything has a time and today ‘not to scandalise others’ takes the priority.
We can also infer another important aspect of life, from this behaviour of Jesus. The civil obedience. We may not always agree with the state, its law and functioning. However, Jesus seems to propagate another important aspect of Christian life: be a person filled with love than be a revolutionary. It’s not the civil disobedience that God desires, rather a heart filled with love, particularly towards the weaker section of the society. Let’s not be a bad example to our brothers and sisters.
Action of the day: Be generous and filled with love and compassion.
«When they were together in Galilee»
Fr. Joaquim PETIT Llimona, L.C.
Today, the liturgy offers, for us to consider, different possibilities. Amongst these we could, perhaps, stop in something implicit throughout the text: Jesus' familiar attitude with his disciples.
St. Matthew says that Jesus and his disciples «were together in Galilee» (Mt 17:22). Though it is quite evident, the fact the Evangelist deems it necessary to mention it seems to emphasize the nearness of Jesus Christ. Shortly afterwards, Jesus opens His heart to make them aware of his Passion, Death and Resurrection, that is, of something He had been keeping inside himself but He does not want to conceal any longer from those He loves so much. Still further, the text mentions the tax payment episode, and, here too, the Evangelist shows us Jesus' demeanor with them, by placing himself at Peter's level, and counterposing the tax-free sons (Jesus and Peter) to the others, who must pay. Finally, Christ, shows Peter how to get the necessary monies to pay, not only for Him, but for both of them and, thus, avoid any scandal.
In all these traits we may discover a fundamental vision of our Christian life: Jesus' desire to remain with us. In the book of Proverbs the Lord says: «Rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind» (Pr 8:31). Amazing, how this reality may change our approach to our spiritual life where, at times, we only pay attention to what we do, as if that was the most important part of it…! Our interior life must be centered in Christ, in his love for us, in his dying on the Cross for me, in his constant search of our heart. In one meeting with the youth, in Spain, saint John Paul II expressed it very well, when he said, out loud: «Look at Him!».