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.’
Today is Monday the 12 August in the Nineteenth Week of Ordinary Time.
The St Thomas Music Group sing the Prayer of St Theresa by Margaret Rizza. Let nothing disturb you, nothing distress you. While all things fade away, God is unchanging. Be patient, for with God in your heart, nothing is lacking. God is enough.
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Matthew.
This is an odd reading, with a touch of the fairy tale about it. But Jesus warns the disciples that his story has no fairy tale ending. His death will be real, as his resurrection will be real. And the point of it is to bring freedom to all God’s children. Jesus enters our lived reality in all its concrete details. Where do you meet Jesus in your daily life?
Do you just want the Jesus story to be all good news, a message of comfort, but never a challenge? Or can you cope with the reality of the cross?
As you hear the reading once more, listen to what Jesus says about freedom. Is there anything in the story of Jesus that makes you long for freedom? Is there anything in your heart that needs to be set free?
Jesus invites his disciples to stretch their imaginations. He challenges them to think beyond religious clichés and accept him as he is, not as they want him to be. He asks each one of us, ‘Who do you say that I am?’ As you talk to him, how do you want to respond to that question?