In today’s Gospel from Matthew, we hear Jesus ask some questions, as it relates to the payment of Temple tax. He is asking if we pay our fair share.
What is your opinion, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax? From their subjects or from foreigners? (Matt 17:25)?
These are rather tricky questions to answer. You see, Jesus and His Disciples are part of the Kingdom of God. So, with that understanding, they would be considered subjects, not foreigners. Therefore, they should not be subject to the Temple tax. However, if we read a little further, we see that Jesus instructs Simon to go out to sea, and drop a line, and take the first fish that comes up. Jesus tells Simon that this fish will have a gold coin in its mouth, sufficient in worth, to pay the annual tax for both Jesus and Simon. He then instructs Simon to give the coin to the authorities as payment for Jesus and Simon, so that they may not offend the authorities.
What are we to learn from this cryptic passage? And how might we apply it to the world in which we live today?
Do You Pay Your Fair Share?
Today, we do not pay “temple taxes,” but we do have churches that need upkeep. My own parish is going through a hot summer, without one of the two air conditioners working. We’ll need to replace that air conditioner, and they don’t come cheap. We’ll all need to chip in and cover the cost. So, that will mean digging a little deeper into our respective finances to make it happen. Why do we do this? We do it because we are followers of Christ. We do it because it is the right thing to do. Since we are the ones who make use of this comfort, week after week, we should cover the cost.
If Jesus were to ask you today, “Are you paying your fair share?” What would be your answer? Do you give regularly to your church? If yes, great! If no, then now might be a good time to drop a line in the sea, find that coin and make some back payments.
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