August 14, Monday of the 19th week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr
Daily Readings: First reading: Deuteronomy 10:12–22; Gospel: Matthew 17:22–27
Peter was in a quandary. Some officials had demanded to know whether Jesus had paid the annual Temple tax—as if Peter had any idea! Peter gave a brief yes in response to the question and then carried on (Matthew 17:25).
Clearly, though, Peter had no idea, because when he returned home, Jesus used a parable to tell him that no, he hadn't paid. He was "exempt" from the tax (Matthew 17:26). He then arranged for a little miracle so that Peter could pay the tax for both of them.
We can read today's Gospel as a simple story about a fish miraculously dispensing a couple of coins, but this wasn't a magic trick. Jesus was giving Peter an illustration of what a life of discipleship meant: Yes, there would be challenges, like the one Peter had just experienced with the tax collectors.
Yes, there would be missteps, as when, just a couple of days previously, God himself had to correct Peter for wanting to build a monument to Jesus' Transfiguration (Matthew 17:4-5).
And yes, there would be times when Peter would get things spectacularly wrong, as when he tried to keep Jesus from the cross (Matthew 16:21–23).
But through it all, one thing would never change: Peter was still a citizen of the kingdom of heaven. Imagine how Peter must have felt when he pulled those two coins from the mouth of that fish, especially given all the recent drama he had experienced! Jesus hadn't performed this miracle to keep the authorities happy; they had no idea where the money had come from. He did it to give Peter a simple sign to encourage and reassure him.
As he did for Peter, Jesus will give us signs occasionally to reassure us and to remind us that we belong to him. These don't have to be big miracles, like healings. They're often little things like a word of affirmation from a friend, a song on the radio, the reappearance of a cherished item you thought you had lost forever, or a million other "little miracles."
Especially when we are going through our own rough times, Jesus will reach out to us. The signs will be there; we just need to see them for what they are: generous gifts from a loving God.
"Jesus, thank you for always surrounding me with your love!"
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.