12 August 2019. Monday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reflection (Sem. Renz Marion C. Cunanan)
Today’s first reading and Gospel focuses on man’s primary duty. The first reading captures that clearly – it is to follow the Lord with all my heart and all my soul. My recent milestone in the seminary is the investiture of the soutane, and to me, wearing the soutane is a reminder on how I can follow God with my heart and soul – to die to myself.
When I was still serving in the parish, we also have this rite of investiture of soutane, which was a much anticipated in the life of altar servers. However, prior to the rite, we have to undergo series of tests and interviews. These remind us of the importance of what we are going to receive on that day. A similar experience happened when I received the soutane together with my batchmates last June 30. It was really a gift and grace from God. Upon reflecting on that experience, I realized that the things that we have undergone in the first year of our seminary formation were tests of dying to ourselves which were expected of us as priests-in-process.
In the Gospel today, Jesus warned his disciples about His death for the second time. He was about to express the greatest expression of love – to lay down His life for all of us. To me, this is also a challenge that after receiving the gift of investiture with the soutane, I must be ready to follow Him with all my heart and my soul and be ready to die to myself in order that I may live more fully for God and for His people.
The Gospel Today
Matthew 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.”