Ezekiel 1:2-5, 24-28c
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
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.”
Good News Reflection: Experiencing the glory of God
How often does the glory of the Lord reveal itself to you? If you were to describe God’s glory, how would you picture it? Today’s first reading is Ezekiel’s vision of that glory. It matched his fiery personality.
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus pulls a rabbit out of a hat, or rather, a coin out of a fish. What a glorious way to pay taxes! Perhaps we could do that, too — but first we’d have to be as active in ministry as he was and as confident in the Father’s desire to supply everything that’s needed for doing it.
Today’s responsorial psalm reminds us that heaven and earth are filled with God’s glory. Is your life filled with it? Yes! But do you recognize it? It’s all around you, for earth truly is filled with his glory. The psalmist did not say, “Heaven and earth are filled with the glory of God except where Terry is” (replace my name with your own or the name of someone for whom you are praying).
So, since this is true, how does the glory of God reveal itself in your life?
I’m convinced that the biggest obstruction blocking our view of the glory of God is our self-satisfying materialism. In the culture where I live, we have every convenience we could possibly want and much more besides. Why do we need miracles if we can store up money in the bank (to pay our taxes with of course), negating the need to go fishing for a miracle? How can we see Jesus telling us where to cast our nets while we’re looking at the radar screen on our fish finders?
Let me tell you a true story about this. One day, I took my laptop computer to a small boat that I used to own. My husband and I had purchased this boat after discovering that being out on the water restores our energy rather quickly. For several years, it served as my personal “hermitage.” I could write more reflections in one day on this boat than two weeks at the office. However, boats require a lot of maintenance, and (long story shortened) we couldn’t keep up with it. After turning this problem over to God, three separate issues got fixed “all by themselves” — what was broken started working — glory be to God!
It’s not sinful to have material goods — some saints were very wealthy — but only if it’s used for the glory of God.
At every Mass in every Catholic church, the glory of the Lord reveals itself on the altar, right there in front of all of us, when the bread and wine becomes — miraculously — the actual Body and Blood of Christ. That’s a great reason to celebrate. Does it look to others like you’re celebrating? The glory of God that shines from you evangelizes the people around you.
When our belief in God’s glory affects our everyday life, we experience the joy of the Lord regardless of trials and difficulties. Others will want what we have, and so the glory grows.
Thank You, my Lord Jesus, for helping me to leave everything in Your hands, for providing me with everything I need and for Your peace dwelling in my heart. Amen.
© 2018 by Terry A. Modica