August 9, 2021
Monday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings for Today
Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Virgin and Martyr—Optional Memorial
From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax? From their subjects or from foreigners?” When he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him, “Then the subjects are exempt. 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 17:25–27
Prior to this minor miracle, Jesus had just told His disciples for the second time about His coming passion. Again, this was difficult for them to hear. Recall that after the first prediction of Jesus’ coming passion and death, Jesus took Peter, James and John up the mountain and was Transfigured before them. The Transfiguration was meant, in part, to dispel the fear of the disciples and to give them hope for that which was to come. And now, after Jesus’ second prediction of His passion, another miracle was performed for Peter, personally, to help encourage him and give him hope.
Imagine if you were Peter. Imagine following through with Jesus’ instructions by going to the sea, dropping in a hook, pulling out a fish and then opening its mouth. Peter must have been filled with hope and excitement as he pulled this fish in, wondering if Jesus’ words would come true. And as soon as Peter saw the coin, just as Jesus said, he must have been in awe. Slowly, the fear and anxiety he was experiencing at this second prediction of Jesus’ passion and death would have begun to subside as Peter witnessed yet another incredible sign from his Lord.
God performs miracles in our lives every day. The problem is that we often fail to discern them. Any time His glorious power works within us to strengthen us or fills us with courage, hope, charity and every other virtue, this is a miracle of transforming grace. God always knows what we need in life. He knows our struggles and doubts. At times, He is silent so as to draw us deeper through intentional prayer and acts of faith. And at times, we suddenly find that we receive a new clarity in life that is the result of His grace at work.
Jesus knew that Peter needed this extra grace of this personal miracle so that he could move beyond his fears and struggles and place all of his trust in Jesus. Jesus was trustworthy. This is the conclusion Peter would have arrived at. He was trustworthy. Therefore, everything He said should be believed. What a wonderful conclusion for us all to arrive at.
Reflect, today, upon the ways that God has assured you of His divine presence and action in your life. Though the assuring miracles God has performed in your life may not be physical in their manifestation, God’s workings can be just as convincing if we clearly perceive them. What does God want to assure you of in your life? What struggle or doubt do you struggle with? If you struggle, turn your mind to the ways that God has been present and active in your life. Ponder His intervention and the ways He has cared for you and led you. Be grateful and allow the memory of what God has done to be your strength today and the source of hope when you need it the most.
My miraculous Lord, Your action in my life is truly glorious and amazing. You never fail to provide for me when I am in need. Help me to turn to You whenever I struggle so as to be filled with new hope in You. You are always faithful, dear Lord. I do place all my hope in You. Jesus, I trust in You.
Scripture Meditations for Ordinary Time
Saint of the Day – Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Virgin and Martyr
Featured image above: Saint Peter paying the tribute with a piece of silver found in a fish By George Hayter, via Wikimedia Commons