Ezekiel 1:2-5,24-28, Ps. 148:1-2,11-14, Matthew 17:22-27
“However, not to give offense 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.” (Matthew 17:27)
One way to define the term “war” is: what happens when two people believe they are both right and each insists the other party is wrong. From small domestic battles, arguments over football, disagreements about who is to blame in politics, even to full-scale battles between nations, the square root of all fights is the refusal of any side to admit they are wrong.
Was Jesus supposed to pay tax? At this time, Jesus had left his carpentry workshop and was moving about, from place to place, preaching. Jesus even made Peter and the other disciple abandon their regular jobs to follow him. So, what was Jesus’ business with the issue of tax?
Now let’s consider the mood in which Jesus was when the issue of tax came up. Matthew reports that Jesus had just announced to his disciples how he would suffer and be killed on the third day “and they were greatly distressed.” (Matthew 17:23). To put it softly, both Jesus and the disciples were unhappy. It was in this frame that the tax collectors met Peter demanding tax.
As soon as Peter got home, Jesus was the first to speak and there is something he said that we need to ponder upon. “However, not to give offense…” Jesus said something similar when John the Baptist was about to baptize him: “to fulfill all righteousness.” This is a lesson we have to learn from Jesus, that, even when we are right, we could still act so as not to give offense.
There is an extent that our pursuit of justice becomes a vice. Sometimes, it is best to shift ground. What will it profit you if you destroy the whole world just to prove you are right? Be like Jesus; allow peace to reign.
Let us pray: Almighty ever-living God, teach me to understand before seeking to be understood, may I become an agent of your peace to the world. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saint Dominic, Priest. Bible Study: Ezekiel 1:2-5,24-28, Ps. 148:1-2,11-14, Matthew 17:22-27).
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu