August 12, 2019
(St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious)
In response to the tax collector’s interrogation of Peter about collecting taxes from Jesus, Jesus said, “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.” Mt_17:22-27
Today’s Scriptures speak to us about transactions. We find that in life, there are many different types of transactions.
Some transactions are required out of necessity. For example, we exchange our work for money, so that we can exchange our money for the food that we need to survive.
Some transactions are made out of pleasure. In these, we exchange our money out of our desire: for a nicer car or house, for entertainment, for hobbies, or even for our human vices. These transactions are not necessary, but they certainly can bring us worldly pleasure. And that’s not a bad thing. But, we just have to keep these indulgences in perspective. We have to keep them in check, so that they don’t eat up all of the resources we need for making some of those more important transactions.
And among those ‘more important transactions,’ are those that are made out of love. A transaction that’s made out of love is one in which there actually is NO exchange. We give our money, or our time, or our effort with absolutely no expectation of repayment: no tax break, no thank you, just pure giving, out of love. These are the transactions in life that offer us the greatest return on our investment.
Then there are those transactions that are made out of obligation. In these, we exchange our hard earned money for something much less tangible. We might call these taxes. We pay taxes to provide education for our kids; to provide us with a security system of police and jails and lawyers; and many other public services like roads and trash collection and libraries. Now, maybe we don’t have kids, or cars or trash, but we still have to pay those taxes, just because we live here. It’s simply a part of our obligation.
Jesus made the point today, that even though He did not have to pay the tax, He did anyway. And, not only did He pay for Himself, but He even paid for Peter as well. And the money that Jesus used for that “Good-Will Offering,” that “Love Transaction,” was actually provided by God, even though we might have thought that the example Jesus gave seemed a little “fishy.”
You see, when our works, our transactions, are made out of God’s Love, then God Himself will always provide for our needs. And so it is, that when we recognize how enormously much God has provided for us: our jobs, our health, our food, our beautiful planet, our loved ones, and so much more, then how can we NOT want to repay God through our Obedience, our Prayer, our Respect, and our Love for others!
In the end, it really IS the very least we can do in our transactions with God. And even though they’re NOT necessary, our Love transactions can bring nothing less – than more Love back to us, more Love back into the whole world!
And that’s what Life is really, all about, beloved!
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