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Monday, August 13, 2007

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Pope St. Pontian
St. Hippolytus

Deuteronomy 10:12-22
Psalm 147
Matthew 17:22-27

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"For fear of disedifying them go to the lake, throw in a line, and take out the first fish you catch. Open its mouth and you will discover there a coin worth twice the temple tax. Take it and give it to them for you and Me." —Matthew 17:27

Jesus, ever the great Teacher (Mt 9:11), used "any and every" means (Phil 1:18) to teach people about God's mercy and to lead them to repent. Jesus taught by using:

  • parables, simple stories with great meaning (Mt 13:4-50),
  • discourses packed with God's revelation (e.g. Mt 5-7),
  • dramatic stories (Lk 10:25-37; 15:11-32),
  • miracles and signs,
  • questions to make people think (e.g. Mt 16:15; 17:25),
  • His own examples of charity (e.g. Jn 13:3-10), and
  • jokes. Jesus' practical joke in today's Gospel surely made the tax collectors think and the disciples laugh!

Jesus "learned obedience from what He suffered" (Heb 5:8). Therefore, He taught us what He had learned. He delivered His signature lesson, that is, His teaching on suffering, from the podium of the cross. This teaching made people speechless (Is 52:15), broke open the hardest hearts, and has led millions upon millions of people throughout history to receive the mercy and salvation of God. "It is precisely in this that God proves His love for us: that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rm 5:8).

Prayer:  Jesus, may I accept Your grace to teach many thousands of people about Your merciful, saving love.

Promise:  "He sends forth His command to the earth; swiftly runs His word!"—Ps 147:15

Praise:  Pope St. Pontian was exiled to the mines during yet another Roman persecution of the Church. Harsh treatment and inhuman conditions led to his death as a martyr. "Happy now are the dead who die in the Lord!" (Rv 14:13)

Reference:  (This teaching submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 14, 2007

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