One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

August 14, 2006

For Monday of the Nineteenth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Matthew 17:22-27

We have two incidents in the Gospel today.
First: Jesus once more foretells that he is to suffer betrayal and death at the hands of men.
The disciples feel overwhelming grief upon hearing this.
The second incident.
The collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said,
“Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?”

Jewish men over the age of nineteen had the duty of paying three days wages once a year for the upkeep of the Temple of God.
Simon Peter immediately tells the collectors that his teacher, Jesus, does pay the tax.
Perhaps still grieving over the news that his teacher would suffer death at the hands of man, Simon perhaps wishes to protect Jesus from public attention.
He just tells the collectors, “Yes.”
Even before Simon has a chance to go tell his teacher about the collectors, Jesus already knows what has happened.
When Simon came into the house,
before he had time to speak,
Jesus asked him,
“What is your opinion, Simon?
From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax?
From their subjects or from foreigners?”

The actual word in the original language of the Gospel is “sons,” rather than “subjects.”
From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax—
from their SONS or from foreigners?

Jesus goes on to explain, “the SONS are exempt.”
Jesus is exempt from paying for the upkeep of the Temple of God, for he is the SON of God.
However, precisely as the SON OF GOD he directs Simon Peter in a miracle of catching a fish whose mouth holds a coin worth the annual Temple tax from both Jesus and Simon.
Jesus sees to it that his Father’s Temple is kept up as it deserves.
On his own behalf and that of Simon, Jesus provides payment of the Temple tax.
Since Jesus had again foretold that men would collect him and kill him, the Temple tax he now provides by having Simon collect a miraculous, coin-holding fish— the Temple tax that Jesus pays for the glory of his Father also becomes a sign of his approaching death.
For the glory of the Father, and for the good of Simon Peter and all humanity, Jesus will pay the “Death Tax” for sin.
Because of the Eucharist today, you and I shall be like that fish Jesus sent Simon to catch.
By virtue of the Eucharist, you and I shall have in our mouths the Tax in Person, the Exempt Son of God, serving the glory of his Father and our eternal welfare.

That God Be Glorified in All


Blogger DimBulb said...

Hi, father,

Thanks for the heads up on the NAB site you left on my blog. I was already aware of it but have not linked to it because sometimes when I try to access the site my browser disappears from the screen and I have to reboot the computer. On several occasions this has led to the loss of several hours work on a blog post. Very angering. It seems to be a problem with my computer rather than the NAB site itself

Anyway, though I find the cross references and the footnotes of the NAB helpful, the translation itself is not well written and I wish something would be done about it. As I stated yesterday on the Closed Cafeteria, any bible translation that sounds like I did it can't be very good.

8:23 PM  

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