Gospel: Matthew 17:22-27
While Jesus was in Galilee with the Twelve, he said to them, “The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men, 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 masterpay the temple tax?” He answered, “Yes.”
Peter then entered the house; and immediately, Jesus asked him, “What do you think, Simon? Who pay taxes or tribute to the kings of the earth: their sons or strangers and aliens?” Peter replied, “Strangers and aliens.” And Jesus told him, “The sons, then, are taxfree. 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 the coin and give it to them for you and for me.”
“Give the coin to them for you and for me.”
Here, the gospel writer once again highlights Peter’s special po sition, but this is not to say it is the focus of the passage. The writer lo cates the “center of gravity” of the episode in the “teaching on free dom balanced by concern to avoid unnecessary scandal” (Brendan Byrne). To Jesus, he is not obliga ted to pay the temple tax, but still freely chose to do so out of consi deration of the Jewish community, particularly the tax collectors.
A seminarian narrated an inci dent during an apostolate work at Villa Maria, an indigenous people’s community in a mountainous area in our archdiocese. While walking back to the village, together with a man from the community, he saw ripe bananas still hanging on the plant and asked the man to get the bananas for them to eat and bring to the village. The man climbed up and got only a few bananas. Won dering why he did not get them all, he asked him. In reply the man said: “We only get what is enough and leave the rest for others who might come this way and might be hungry.
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