Monday 11th August – Memorial of St Clare, Virgin
Reflection: Matthew 17:22-27
JESUS: TRUE GOD AND TRUE MAN
The temple tax was originally levied against each person as a ransom for his soul, in the sense of an acknowledgment that his life had been forfeited by sin. In the book of exodus it was levied against every male 20 years of age in order to pay for the maintenance of the temple. The King’s households are exempted from the tax. Jesus Christ, Son of God, He Who has said that He is the temple of God because divinity was dwelling in His human nature, would He now pay the temple tribute? To pay the temple tribute after declaring Himself as the Son of God would raise questions about His divinity. He Who is giving Himself as ransom, then should He pay a tax for a sacrifice? Since He is both the temple and the sacrifice. The point at issue is not the poverty of the Master; it was whether or not He Who is the Living Temple of God would subordinate Himself to the symbol and sign of Himself. However, after affirming that as the King’s Son He was immune from earthly tributes, He told Peter to get a coin from the mouth of the fish. The manner in which the tax was paid might have been a lesson to Peter and to the whole Church that, even while submitting Himself to the Temple authorities, He was nevertheless showing Himself the Lord of all creation. Thus, Christ is teaching us to bow to those in authority over us, not as the end of our service but as a service to God.
Though free, He Who is the Son God became the Son of Man sharing the poverty, trials and labors of men. Presently as the Son of Man, He would not stand on His dignity as the Son of God, nor claim immunity from servile obligations, but would voluntarily concede to a tax in order to avoid scandal. He would submit Himself to the tax to sanctify the human bond He wore. Although He was free from the tax, He prepared to pay it; though He was free from sin too, he took on its penalties; though free from the necessity of death, He accepted it.
Dear friends, this is a call to sober reflection. What are we giving up or accepting for the sake of Christ who gave all He was for our sake?
PRAYER: Lord I surrender all to you, for your Glory. Amen
KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1899 – Authority
For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
HIDE A TREASURE: “Let everyone be subject to the authorities. For there is no authority that does not come from God, and the offices have been established by God.” Romans 13:1 CCB
Readings for Today: Ezekiel 1:2-5, 24-28, Psalm 148:1-2, 11-14, Matthew 17:22-27