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Liturgical day: Monday 19th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Deut 10:12-22): Moses said to the people: «And now, Israel, what does the Lord, your God, ask of you but to fear the Lord, your God, and follow his ways exactly, to love and serve the Lord, your God, with all your heart and all your soul, to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord which I enjoin on you today for your own good? Think! The heavens, even the highest heavens, belong to the Lord, your God, as well as the earth and everything on it. Yet in his love for your fathers the Lord was so attached to them as to choose you, their descendants, in preference to all other peoples, as indeed he has now done.

»Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and be no longer stiff-necked. For the Lord, your God, is the God of gods, the Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who has no favorites, accepts no bribes; who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and befriends the alien, feeding and clothing him. So you too must befriend the alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt. The Lord, your God, shall you fear, and him shall you serve; hold fast to him and swear by his name. He is your glory, he, your God, who has done for you those great and terrible things which your own eyes have seen. Your ancestors went down to Egypt seventy strong, and now the Lord, your God, has made you as numerous as the stars of the sky».
Responsorial Psalm: 147
R/. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Glorify the Lord, o Jerusalem; praise your God, o Zion. For he has strengthened the bars of your gates; he has blessed your children within you.

He has granted peace in your borders; with the best of wheat he fills you. He sends forth his command to the earth; swiftly runs his word!

He has proclaimed his word to Jacob, his statutes and his ordinances to Israel. He has not done thus for any other nation; his ordinances he has not made known to them.
Versicle before the Gospel (2Thess 2:14): Alleluia. God has called you through the Gospel to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Mt 17,22-27): On day when they were together in Galilee, Jesus said to his disciples, «The Son of Man will be delivered into human hands, 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 master pay the temple tax?». He answered, «Certainly». Peter then entered the house, but immediately Jesus asked him, «What do you think, Simon? Who pay taxes or tributes to the kings of the earth: their sons or the other people?». Peter replied, «The others». And Jesus told him, «The sons, then, are tax-free. 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 it and let it pay for you and for me».

«When they were together in Galilee»

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

Today, the liturgy offers, for us to consider, different possibilities. 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 together 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 counterposing 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: «Rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind» (Pr 8:31). 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. In one meeting with the youth, in Spain, saint John Paul II expressed it very well, when he said, out loud: «Look at Him!».