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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Monday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Ezek 1:2-5.24—2:1): On the fifth day of the fourth month of the fifth year, that is, of King Jehoiachin's exile, the word of the Lord came to the priest Ezekiel, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar.—There the hand of the Lord came upon me. As I looked, a stormwind came from the North, a huge cloud with flashing fire enveloped in brightness, from the midst of which (the midst of the fire) something gleamed like electrum. Within it were figures resembling four living creatures that looked like this: their form was human.

Then I heard the sound of their wings, like the roaring of mighty waters, like the voice of the Almighty. When they moved, the sound of the tumult was like the din of an army. And when they stood still, they lowered their wings. Above the firmament over their heads something like a throne could be seen, looking like sapphire. Upon it was seated, up above, one who had the appearance of a man. Upward from what resembled his waist I saw what gleamed like electrum; downward from what resembled his waist I saw what looked like fire; he was surrounded with splendor. Like the bow which appears in the clouds on a rainy day was the splendor that surrounded him. Such was the vision of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm: 148
R/. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights; praise him, all you his angels; praise him, all you his hosts.

Let the kings of the earth and all peoples, the princes and all the judges of the earth, young men too, and maidens, old men and boys.

Praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven.

And he has lifted up the horn of his people. Be this his praise from all his faithful ones, from the children of Israel, the people close to him.
Versicle before the Gospel (2Thess 2:13): Alleluia. God has called you through the Gospel to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 17:22-27): As Jesus and his disciples were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is to be handed over to men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day." And they were overwhelmed with grief.

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."

“Jesus and his disciples were gathering in Galilee”

Fr. Joaquim PETIT Llimona, L.C. (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, the liturgy offers different possibilities for us to consider. Amongst these we could, perhaps, stop in something implicit throughout the text: Jesus' familiar attitude with his disciples.

St. Matthew says that “Jesus and his disciples were gathering in Galilee” (Mt 17:22). Though it is quite evident, the fact the Evangelist deems it necessary to mention it seems to emphasize the nearness of Jesus Christ. Shortly afterwards, Jesus opens His heart to make them aware of his Passion, Death and Resurrection. That is, of something He had been keeping inside himself but He does not want to conceal any longer from those He loves so much. Still further, the text mentions the tax payment episode, and, here too, the Evangelist shows us Jesus' demeanor with them, by placing himself at Peter's level, and contrasting the tax-free sons (Jesus and Peter) to the others, who must pay. Finally, Christ shows Peter how to get the necessary monies to pay, not only for Him, but for both of them and, thus, avoid any scandal.

In all these traits we may discover a fundamental vision of our Christian life: Jesus' desire to remain with us. In the book of Proverbs the Lord says: “Playing over the whole of his earth, having my delight with human beings” (Pr 8:31). It is amazing how this reality may change our approach to our spiritual life where, at times, we only pay attention to what we do, as if that was the most important part of it…! Our interior life must be centered in Christ, in his love for us, in his dying on the Cross for me, in his constant search of our heart. Saint John Paul II expressed it very well back in 1982, in his meeting with the youth in Spain, when he said, out loud: “Look at Him!”

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “His passion is our resurrection.” (Saint Ignatius of Antioch)

  • “A new worship is being introduced, in a Temple not built by human hands. This Temple is his body, the Risen One, who gathers the peoples and unites them in the sacrament of his body and blood.” (Benedict XVI)

  • “Jesus venerated the Temple by going up to it for the Jewish feasts of pilgrimage, and with a jealous love he loved this dwelling of God among men. The Temple prefigures his own mystery. When he announces its destruction, it is as a manifestation of his own execution and of the entry into a new age in the history of salvation, when his Body would be the definitive Temple.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 593)