JESUS PAID THE TEMPLE TAX/ ST. DOMINIC: MONDAY, 8TH AUGUST, 2022, WEEK 19, YEAR II.
EZEKIEL 1:2-5, 24-28; PSALM 148; MATTHEW 17:22-27
The First Reading of today tells us about Ezekiel’s vision of the glory of God, even in the land of exile. This vision convinced him that God is everywhere and is still in charge. He bowed before God and worshipped Him. The message is simple -God was telling Ezekiel, though my people are in Israel, I am not far from them, I am here.
The Lord is saying to someone today, wherever you are and whatever you are going through, I am here.
Today’s Gospel narrates a very interesting incident. Jesus paid the temple tax and by doing that, He fulfilled an obligation which He had the right to seek indulgence from.
Dear friends, a very important lesson we need to learn from Jesus is that for the interest of peace and to avoid creating avoidable tension or causing scandal, we need to learn to let go of some things. This is something Jesus always did. His Baptism was not necessary for Him, but He received it to fulfil all righteousness (Matthew 3:15).
Today, He paid the temple tax, which by rights, He ought not to have paid. He is the true High Priest of the Temple and high priests were excused from paying taxes. He is also the True Temple of God to whom every temple points (Matthew 12:6) because He is God who is worshipped in the Temple.
Let us learn from Jesus that sometimes it is better to avoid some battles. It is charitable to sometimes let go of our rights in the interest of peace and it is virtuous to scrupulously avoid anything that could cause scandal.
Let me end with St. Paul’s letter to the Romans 14:21: It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother or sister stumble (also 1 Corinthians 8:12-13).
Today is the memorial of St. Dominic.
St. Dominic was born in Calaruega in Spain, in 1170, to a noble family. From his childhood, he had learnt to love God and he grew up to eventually become a priest.
St. Dominic practised three virtues excellently, namely – mortification, prayer and charity. As a university student, we are told that he once sold his clothes, books and other things to get money to give to the poor at a time when there was a famine in Spain.
He promoted the Rosary as a great prayer to obtain graces and as a weapon for combating heresies (especially the Albigesians) and the enemy of our salvation. He was the founder of the Order of Preachers in 1216, a group of preachers devoted to spreading the Gospel, gaining souls for Christ and refuting heresies. He converted so many with his simplicity, his preaching and miracles.
He went peacefully to meet the Lord on August 6, 1221.
May His prayers help us and may we imitate His love for God, his humility and charity.