The Gospel Today
Monday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
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.”
Reflection (Sem. Philip Faustino Volante):
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is showing us that we should abide by the laws of the state. God has set His rules, but we also need to follow the rules that are implemented by the government.
One time, we were caught by a traffic officer in Ortigas for swerving; we didn’t know that it was not allowed at that part of the highway. When my uncle was called by the enforcer to stop, we started to panic, when he was asked by the enforcer, the answer that came from my uncle was: “pasensya na boss… taga-probinsiya po…”( sorry sir… we are from the province). The traffic enforcer accepted my uncle’s excuse and we were allowed to go on our way. I realized that in every violation of the law, there must be an equal and corresponding punishment. We should have gotten that punishment, either by attending the seminar or paying the penalty, but we were very thankful that the traffic enforcer understood our situation.
We are always bound by rules and laws to give order and peace. In my case, I observed rules in our house, our parish, and in our seminary; added the fact that we have the laws of the state. But after much reflection, I realized that all the laws that are implemented are rooted in the laws given by God, the Ten Commandments. As long as we follow the laws of God, it’s as if following all the laws in the world!
Laws are made to give order and peace in a nation. We should respect and follow it just like Jesus who followed the law.