The Gospel reading from the Mass for Monday of the 19th Week of Ordinary Time is Matthew 17:22-27.

Following the powerful experience of the Transfiguration, Christ comes down the mountain and rebukes the disciples lack of faith and urges them to simply have the faith of a tiny mustard seed. Rather than hid the truth, Christ bluntly reveals that He will be killed but will be raised again. Showing they continue to lack faith, the disciples are “greatly distressed” at Christ’s blessed revelation.

Affirming Peter’s primacy as Christ’s lead Apostle, the men collecting the temple tax approach Peter for payment and Peter answers on Christ’s behalf.  The meaning of Christ’s later question to Simon-Peter in the New American Bible translation (used in the Mass readings) is distorted with gender-neutral language.  Here is an accurate translation of verses 25-26 using the RSVCE:  “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their sons or from others?” And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free.”  With the accurate translation, Christ reaffirms important truths: the Divine Patriarchy of Kingship (Father, Son and Holy Spirit); His deliberate establishment of the patriarchy (rule by men) of the Catholic Church; the specific call to men to be adopted sons/princes in Christ’s Kingdom; the freedom of Christ’s sons from the ritual practice of the Old Covenant; Christ’s specific call to greatness for men.

After instructing Peter with the truth about paying the Temple Tax (Christ’s followers are exempt, for they are His sons), Christ demonstrates to Peter the need to be savvy with evangelization; in this case, to avoid conflict in the short term by simply paying the Temple Tax. To ensure Peter remembers, and perhaps to actually have the money to pay the tax, Christ performs a small miracle by materializing a coin in a fish’s mouth.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ reasserts the reality of His Kingdom and the essential nature of patriarchy in the Church; He also performs miracles using His Creation. Divine King, Christ’s selection of Peter as His chosen leader is recognized by even non-believers. Divine Prophet, Christ reveals His coming Passion and Resurrection. Divine Teacher, Christ instructs Peter about how to think about and deal with the Old Covenant.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not make mistakes; He purposefully establishes His Kingdom and specifically calls men (including priests – CCC 1577-1580) to be leaders in His Kingdom. Reflect on Christ’s perfect and deliberate emphasis on the call to men in this passage.

2) By financially contributing to the Temple, Christ demonstrates by example the need to support the Church; sadly, many Catholic parishes are struggling because Catholic men do not give generously. Review the obligation for men to Financially Support the Church (CCC 2043, 1350-1351, 1438) and pray for Christ to give to give generously to His Church out of gratitude for your many blessings.

3) In a world in free-fall moral decline and with a Church that often fails to take courageous Catholic stands, in contrast to Christ’s approach of picking His battles, men are often tempted to fight every battle. Reflect upon the Cardinal Virtue of Prudence (CCC 1805-1806, 1835, 1788, 2104) and pray for Him to guide you to take prudent action.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Souls in Purgatory

Virtue of the Day – Prudence

Corporal Work of Mercy – To give drink to the thirsty

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To instruct the ignorant