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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 17,21-26

When they were together in Galilee, Jesus said to them, 'The Son of man is going to be delivered into the power of men;

they will put him to death, and on the third day he will be raised up again.' And a great sadness came over them.

When they reached Capernaum, the collectors of the half-shekel came to Peter and said, 'Does your master not pay the half-shekel?'

'Yes,' he replied, and went into the house. But before he could speak, Jesus said, 'Simon, what is your opinion? From whom do earthly kings take toll or tribute? From their sons or from foreigners?'

And when he replied, 'From foreigners,' Jesus said, 'Well then, the sons are exempt.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

While Jesus and the disciples are returning to Capernaum, some tax collectors approach Peter to find out whether Jesus intends to pay the temple tax. This is not a tribute to Caesar, but the contribution every Israelite is required to make to provide for the operation of the temple. Even though he is "greater than the temple" (12:6), Jesus does not try to avoid this responsibility. He orders Peter to go catch a fish and take the silver coin needed for the temple from the mouth of the fish he hooks. He did not want to cause a scandal, and, as on other occasions, Jesus does not claim rights and privileges that could have been considered his due. He wants to edify the people, not scandalize them. This is why he acts differently than what might seem logical for him. His primary concern is still to gather and keep the people whom the Father has entrusted to him. The scrupulous attention Jesus gives to avoiding scandal, especially towards the least, should always inform the disciples’ way of speaking and acting. This wisdom requires great interior discipline, especially from those who have pastoral responsibilities, because everyone is more inclined to act impulsively and without reflecting. The Lord continues to show us that true wisdom is to build up the spiritual temple of the Christian community.

Memory of the Poor