Avoid Offending Another

Monday, August 14, 2017

Readings for Monday of the Nineteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, Priest and Martyr – Memorial

“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.”  Matthew 17:27

This is an interesting situation.  The tax collectors of the temple come to Peter and ask him why Jesus doesn’t pay the normal temple tax.  Peter, in turn, asks Jesus this question and Jesus makes it clear that He does not owe tax, given who He is.  However, He sends Peter to obtain a coin miraculously from the mouth of a fish so that others are not offended.

One thing this story reveals is that, at times, the foolish and unimportant concerns of others (such as collecting taxes) are not worth fighting about.  This basic principle may apply to many other situations in life.  It’s easy to allow unimportant issues to get in the way of our service of God.  It’s not an uncommon experience for people to turn trivial concerns into major issues.  We, as Christians, need to keep our eyes on what is important in life and not allow ourselves to be drawn into these foolish battles. 

Humility, when fully embraced, will help us to avoid “offending” people even if we are in the right.  Humility, as seen in this situation with Jesus, enables us to see that this or that battle is not worth fighting.  Certainly we cannot compromise on the truth, but we can and ought to compromise on more trivial and unimportant demands of others rather than allowing conflicts to rise for foolish reasons.

Reflect, today, upon those “issues” in life that seem to get more attention than they are worth.  Reflect upon how you can diffuse these situations by humbling yourself before others.  You may be called to accept small injustices at times for the sake of the bigger picture.  Look at what those may be in your life and ask the Lord to give you the grace to follow His example.

Lord, fill my heart with true humility.  Help me to turn away from unimportant conflicts in life, even to the point of embracing injustice in a sacrificial way.  May I never claim my rights over the joy of embracing deep humility.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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