As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised.” And they were greatly distressed.
When they reached Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax came to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the temple tax?” He said, “Yes, he does.” And when he came home, Jesus spoke of it first, asking, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their children or from others?” When Peter said, “From others,”
Jesus said to him, “Then the children are free. However, so that we do not give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook; take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a coin; take that and give it to them for you and me.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Modern day prophets like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the six Jesuit martyrs in San Salvador, and Archbishop Oscar Romero courageously took a stand against unjust government structures that authorized oppression of the poor and powerless – but not without a price! Jesus, too, often pointed out the oppressive tactics of unjust and merciless religious leaders in his time – but not without a price!
In today’s Gospel, Jesus predicts that he will be “betrayed into human hands.” He knew that his efforts to bring about a world of peace, justice and love would likely bring opposition, but this did not deter him. The Gospel shows how his enemies were trying to entrap him by setting him up to risk a run-in with civil authorities, but he found a way around their scheme.
How might Jesus be inviting me to promote a greater sense of justice in my workplace? My parish? My country?
—Sister Ruth Hoerig is a writer and co-editor of Alive magazine and social media content developer for the School Sisters of St. Francis. She is author of Seeds of Hope: Catholic Sisters in Action Around the World.
Prayer for Generosity
Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to seek reward,
except that of knowing that I do your will.
—St. Ignatius of Loyola