Readings for Monday August 9, 2010
First Reading: Ezekiel 1:2-5, 24-28
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 148
Gospel: Matthew 17:22-27
When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said, “Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?” “Yes,” he said. When he 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?” When he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him, “Then the subjects are exempt. But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you.” (Mt 17:24-27)
As Christians, we are called to put God first in our life, to make Him the main focus. This is a task that is certainly easier said, than done. Let's face, it is very easy to get caught up with the daily challenges and stresses in this world. Things like work, paying bills, family/friend issues, etc; there is a lot that can overwhelm us in this life and take our focus off of God. Even something like paying taxes can become something that distracts us. That was certainly the case in today's gospel. The tax collectors were bugging Peter about whether or not Jesus pays the temple tax. Upon questioning, Peter finds out from Jesus that they are really exempt from paying the tax, but in order to keep peace and not offend the tax collectors and other leaders, they will pay the tax.
Trying to simply live in the world and not of it is a difficult balancing act. On one hand, we always need to make sure that Jesus is Lord over our lives; and then on the other hand we must follow His example of respecting authority and keeping peace. While a difficult balancing act, we must not let ourselves get too distracted from our faith and of the things that God is calling us to in our lives. Let us always remember to keep God first, and then from there everything else will fall into place.
I am reminded of the words of a speaker that I once heard. He was talking about faith and God, and he said, "the most important "thang," is to keep the main "thang" the main "thang." God is the most important "thang" and the main "thang."
Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all the many gifts and blessings in our lives, help us to be good stewards of all that you give to us. Lord, help us to be rich in you and not of the world. We are yours, help our lives to reflect you in all that we do. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.