Jesus And Worldly Authority

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Reflection on the Gospel of the Monday In The Nineteenth Week In Ordinary Time

Matthew 17:22-27

 

Jesus was preparing the Apostles for the upcoming events of his passion, death and resurrection. The Apostles who were all Jews had been waiting for the Messiah and had joined Jesus’ Ministry and followed Him believing that He would be their saviour and their liberator. It must have been a great jolt for them to hear from Jesus himself that he was going to suffer and be killed too. Even though they had witnessed the resurrection of Lazarus and the widow’s son, they could not understand Jesus’ resurrection.

The main reason of their anxiety was that they did not understand Jesus’ mission as the Christ and Son of God, that he came down on earth, to go through the suffering and then die. Jesus’ main purpose is found in the Gospel of John 3 : 16; for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

For the Apostles this knowledge was beyond their thought process. They were thinking of the earthly Kingdom, freedom from Romans who were ruling them at the time of Jesus. They were looking at things from a human understanding of things, not from the point of view of God, who he is, and how he would save humanity and fulfill his promise of Genesis 3:15. They only started seeing from God’s point of view with the the infilling of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost when their fear and anxiety was taken away and with full zeal the disciples came out of the shell and proclaimed the good news. 

One way we do not understand God and is wisdom is about paying taxes. Soon after, the question of taxes is put up. The tax mentioned in verse 16 was mostly to do with the Roman Government. Jesus does not demand that we resist paying of taxes. because all authority comes from God. Yes our true citizenship is in God’s Kingdom, and we need to devote our resources to God’s purposes. But at the same time as pilgrims here and now, we need to honour the authority placed over us, and give to earthly powers what is due to them, because they are there to govern us in accordance with God’s will. Paying taxes is one of the bedrock obligations we as citizens or residents undertake for the services we enjoy in any society.

Let us reflect on our purpose of life on earth and how we can help Jesus achieve his goal. And as for taxes, pay what is due from us in a way that brings honour to God’s kingdom.

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  1. Our cardinal said that the tax was theaTemple Tax—- not a tax to be paid to the government!

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