EZEKIEL 1: 2 – 5, 24 – 28c
On the fifth day of the month (it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin), the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldean by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was upon him there. As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness round about it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming bronze. And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the form of men. And when they went, I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of many waters, like the thunder of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of a host; when they stood still, they let down their wings. And there came a voice from above the firmament over their heads; when they stood still, they let down their wings. And above the firmament over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness as it were of a human form. And upward from what had the appearance of his loins I saw as it were gleaming bronze, like the appearance of fire enclosed round about; and downward from what had the appearance of his loins I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness round about him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face
The Word of the Lord
Psalm 148: 1 – 2, 11 – 12, 13, 14
R/. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights.
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts. R/.
Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all judges of the earth,
young men and maidens as well,
the old together with the young. R/.
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted,
his splendour above heaven and earth. R/.
He exalts the strength of his people.
He is the praise of all his faithful,
the praise of the children of Israel,
of the people to whom he is close. R/.
2nd Thessalonians 2: 14
God has called us through the Gospel, to obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
They will kill him, and he will be raised. The sons are free from tribute.
MATTHEW 17: 22 – 27
At that time: As the disciples were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed. When they came to Capernaiun, the collectors of the half-shekel tax went up to Peter and said, “Does not your teacher pay the tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he came home, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their sons or from others?” And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. However, not to give offence to them, go to the sea and cast a hook, and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel; take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
[4:02 AM, 8/8/2022] Tk: REFLECTION: Avoid Offending Another
August 8, 2022
“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.” (Matthew 17:27)
This is an interesting situation. The tax collectors of the temple come to Peter and ask him why Jesus doesn’t pay the normal temple tax. Peter, in turn, asks Jesus this question and Jesus makes it clear that He does not owe tax, given who He is. However, He sends Peter to obtain a coin miraculously from the mouth of a fish so that others are not offended.
One thing this story reveals is that, at times, the foolish and unimportant concerns of others (such as collecting taxes) are not worth fighting about. This basic principle may apply to many other situations in life. It’s easy to allow unimportant issues to get in the way of our service of God. It’s not an uncommon experience for people to turn trivial concerns into major issues. We, as Christians, need to keep our eyes on what is important in life and not allow ourselves to be drawn into these foolish battles.
Humility, when fully embraced, will help us to avoid “offending” people even if we are in the right. Humility, as seen in this situation with Jesus, enables us to see that this or that battle is not worth fighting. Certainly we cannot compromise on the truth, but we can and ought to compromise on more trivial and unimportant demands of others rather than allowing conflicts to rise for foolish reasons.
Reflect, today, upon those “issues” in life that seem to get more attention than they are worth. Reflect upon how you can diffuse these situations by humbling yourself before others. You may be called to accept small injustices at times for the sake of the bigger picture. Look at what those may be in your life and ask the Lord to give you the grace to follow His example.
My humble Lord, fill my heart with true humility. Help me to turn away from unimportant conflicts in life, even to the point of embracing injustice in a sacrificial way. May I never claim my rights over the joy of embracing deep humility. Jesus, I trust in You.