GOSPEL LIVING

Sunday August 13,2017

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Ezekiel 1:2-5, 24-28   Psalms 148:1-2, 11-12, 12-14, 14   Matthew 17:22-27

22 As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The Son of man is to be delivered into the hands of men, 23 and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day." And they were greatly distressed. 24 When they came to Caper'na-um, the collectors of the half-shekel tax went up to Peter and said, "Does not your teacher pay the tax?" 25 He said, "Yes." And when he came home, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their sons or from others?" 26 And when he said, "From others," Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are free. 27 However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook, and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel; take that and give it to them for me and for yourself."

Meditation: This passage is very rich in symbolism. Here we see Jesus challenging the religious institution of his time by first not paying a temple tax and then submitting to the custom of a temple tax through a miracle. Jesus' explanation on the need not to pay tax is interesting because what he is saying is that since they belong to God and are God's people why should they pay? How can you take something spiritual and and put a price on it? This passage reminds us that our alms giving should be done our of love rather than compulsion. God's kingdom is priceless and so placing a mandatory tax on those who wish to praise God makes prayer cheap.

Does salvation have a price? The gospel contains’ two details; the passion prediction of Jesus and paying temple taxes. These two details connected together with this question. Does salvation have a price? Yes he was a price for our sinfulness.

This gospel passage also tells us not to give offence. According to Jesus offence is one of the serious sins. He also said that it is better to jump in to the sea, tied to a stone rather than to give offence. There may be a thousands of eyes and hears directed towards our words and deeds and do we care about the words that we use. In one way or other we are watched and heard by other let us be also careful about our words and deeds like Jesus.

 

Saint of the day "Blessed Marco of Aviano Priest"

Blessed Marco was born as Carlo Domenico Cristofori on November 17, 1631 in Aviano, Italy to Marco Pasquale Cristofori and Rosa Zanoni. At the age of 16, he left home to walk to Crete where Venice was at war with the Ottoman Turks, planning to preach Christianity to Muslims and take his chance on martyrdom. After a few days, he stopped at a Capuchin house seeking food and shelter.

His time at the monastery affected Carlo deeply, and in 1648 he became a Capuchin novice at Conegliano, Italy. He made his formal vows in 1649, taking the name Mark. On September 8, 1676, while preaching at a monastery in Padua, Italy, Mark prayed over Sister Vincenza Francesconi, who had been bed-ridden for 13 years; she was miraculously healed. Word spread and while he continued preaching, Mark was soon besieged by people seeking miracles; many were healed and many were brought to the faith. He worked as a peacemaker throughout Europe, bringing unity to warring Catholic powers, educating them on the threat posed by the Ottoman’s and never letting them forget that all wise counsel was given by God. On August 13, 1699, Mark died of cancer in Vienna, Austria. He was Venerated on July 6, 1991, decree of heroic virtues and Beatified on April 27, 2003 by Pope John Paul II.