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August 13, 2018 Featured

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Gospel: Mt 17:22-27
While Jesus was in Galilee with the Twelve, he said to them, “The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. But he will rise on the third day.” The Twelve were deeply grieved. When they returned to Capernaum, the temple tax collectors came to Peter and asked him, “Does your master pay the temple tax?” He answered, “Yes.” Peter then entered the house; and immediately, Jesus asked him, “What do you think, Simon? Who pays taxes or tribute to the kings of the earth: their sons or strangers and aliens?” Peter replied, “Strangers and aliens.” And Jesus told him, “The sons, then, are tax free. But, so as not to offend these people, go to the sea, throw in a hook, and open the mouth of the first fish you catch. You will find a coin in it. Take the coin and give it to them for you and for me.”

Does your master pay the temple tax? The Jews paid a yearly per capita tax to the Roman Empire. Their harvest was taxed, so was their use of the Roman highways and fishing docks. Scholars estimate that as much as onethird of their income went to their Roman occupiers. Jesus did not instigate a violent revolt against the Romans. He collaborated when called for — like paying taxes — but was critical of them when necessary. We also need to discern our relationship with the State — when to cooperate and when to be critical, what to affirm and what to denounce, using the Gospel as our moral compass.

© Copyright Bible Diary 2018

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