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"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience," (Col 3:12)

14 August 2023

Mt 17:22-27 ..."Then the subjects are exempt. But that we may not offend them, ..."

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."


Jesus said to him, “Then the subjects are exempt”. Jesus probably means spiritual freedom, based on a relationship with God, in which everything in our lives depends on Him, on His help and grace. Freedom does not consist in doing what one wants or believes is right for oneself, but also in a certain responsibility for oneself, for another person, for the world in which we live. In this world, in addition to moral rules, we are also bound by certain social rules, which mostly serve the good of everyone and the general order. Following these principles is closely related to our faith and is also part of our Christian witness. Temple tax collectors had the right to demand support for the temple, which after all belonged to all Israelites. Maintaining it was certainly not easy and cheap, which is why a separate law was established regarding the material support of the House of God. Every Israelite had to pay this tax twice a year. By paying for himself and for Peter, Jesus not only showed that he respects this right, but also gave a beautiful sign of responsibility and support for the good that serves man. Although he did not have to do so, he entered this situation because he did not want to scandalize those who cared for the temple. Sometimes we rebel against certain rules that are imposed on us or disagree with someone who makes some laws. This is a very difficult and sensitive topic. Sometimes we have to sacrifice a lot to, for example, help someone in need by supporting subsequent initiatives in which we are asked for help. It is not easy, especially when we have little to support ourselves. However, if it serves the good of someone else or the good development of our society, it is always worth contributing, because it is a beautiful sign that we do not live only for ourselves. Of course, not all laws, rules or initiatives are good and some things we are not allowed to support in the moral aspect, but if we recognize that something is good, it is also worth supporting it from ourselves. Jesus knows that we do not belong to this world, that's why he says the words I quoted at the beginning, but He also knows that this world is a part of our lives that we have to go through somehow, including caring for many earthly things or supporting this what we as people living here must support. Jesus is giving us an example of great responsibility today. Let's also try to show similar responsibility towards others, because in this way we show the beauty and power of our faith, and also that we are true witnesses of Christ.

Father Marcin Cwierz, OSPPE

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"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience," (Col 3:12)  

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