The Gospel Today
Memorial of Saint Dominic, Priest
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. Kein Harvey P. Chito)
The intimate relationship of Jesus with the twelve apostles is one of a kind. Can you even imagine that our perfect God is willing to be our friend?
Today’s Gospel is personally telling me the grief that the apostles felt when Jesus told to them that He will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. That grief means that there is a strong bond between Jesus and His apostles. That grief is also very human. That feeling is something that we cannot fake. Once we are in a sad situation, naturally, our initial reaction is to acknowledge this by showing our grief.
But I think the apostles grieved too much because even if Jesus told them that He would rise on the third day, they still chose to embrace sadness. For the apostles, the sadness of Jesus’ death had more weight than the joy of His Resurrection.
Sometimes, we are like that. Even if good things and circumstances are already happening to us, we still choose to be sad. We have the tendency to look for things that have more negative energy than the positive ones. Why is that so? It is because sometimes, we are too consumed by our own emotions. We magnify bitter days rather than better days.
I remember a friend who told me this line, “I do not want to experience extreme happiness because immediately after that, I know that I will also experience extreme sadness.” My jaw dropped after hearing that.
Why are we like that? We are too afraid to experience happy and delightful moments which are already manifestations of God’s love and mercy. I personally admire the apostles but sometimes, we are like them, who focus too much on death rather than resurrection.
Happiness is a choice.