Monday, 11 August 2008

My Thoughts on Bible Readings for Today

Ah, taxes, some love it, some hate it, some don't give a damn about it. Me, I'm no. 3. But let's talk about Jesus, shall we?
Jesus advocated paying taxes in today's gospel reading. He didn't see taxes as a sign of oppression, greed for other's hard-earned money, taking when the taxer should be earning, etc. Instead all he said was taxes should be paid by those the authorities say should pay them. But that doesn't mean those not under said authority should flaunt that freedom. Rather, they should surrender that freedom for the common good (in this case, so as not to cause bad examples for others). Doesn't mean they become slaves though. Like St. Augustine said, "Love God and do what you want." [Ama Deum et fac quod vis] In other words, do whatever you want (in this case, giving up chosen freedoms) as a desired expression of your love for God. Jesus gave up His freedom to not pay taxes not in a blind way but with knowledge of what His rights are- He just chose not to exercise them.
Next, look at the way Jesus paid his taxes. Not by begging. Not by digging deep into His pockets. Not by reducing future expenses. But by fishing. Now I'm not saying we pay our taxes by going fishing. I'm just saying that God will provide, that we don't need to worry so much about what we lose by paying taxes or where we are going to get the money to pay taxes. Just offer our problems to God and let Him deal with them. We can still work hard, but let's do it not because we worry about what will happen if we don't work hard, but because we love to work hard.

Memorial of St. Clare of Assisi

Here is some info on St. Clare of Assisi taken from Wikipedia:

- born in Assisi, Umbria on July 16, 1194
- on March 20, 1212, escaped an arranged marriage by seeking refuge from St. Francis, who received her into religious life
- moved to the church of San Damiano, which became the focal point for Clare's new religious order, the "Order of San Damiano" a.k.a. Order of Poor Ladies (a monastic religious order for women in the Franciscan tradition) or Order of Saint Clare, commonly referred to today as the Poor Clares.
- in 1216, Clare accepted the role of abbess of the Order- defended her order from attempts to impose a watered down version of the radical commitment to corporate poverty she had embraced- sought to imitate Francis' virtues and way of life so much so that she was sometimes titled alter Franciscus, another Francis.
- died at the age of 59 on August 11 1253. Canonized by Pope Alexander IV on August 15, 1255.
- designated as the patron saint of television in 1958
- her feast day falls on the date of her death (August 11)

Bible Readings of the day (Memorial of Saint Clare)

Here is the reading for today Mon 11 Aug:

Ezekiel 1: 2-5, 24-28
On the fifth day of the month – it was the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s exile – the word of the Lord came to the priest Ezekiel the son of Buzi, at the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians. The hand of the Lord came on him there. As I watched, I noticed a windstorm coming from the north – an enormous cloud, with lightning flashing, such that bright light rimmed it and came from it like glowing amber from the middle of a fire. In the fire were what looked like four living beings. In their appearance they had human form.
When they moved, I heard the sound of their wings – it was like the sound of rushing waters, or the voice of the Almighty, or the tumult of an army. When they stood still, they lowered their wings. Then there was a voice from above the platform over their heads when they stood still. Above the platform over their heads was something like a sapphire shaped like a throne. High above on the throne was a form that appeared to be a man. I saw an amber glow like a fire enclosed all around from his waist up. From his waist down I saw something that looked like fire. There was a brilliant light around it, like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds after the rain. This was the appearance of the surrounding brilliant light; it looked like the glory of the Lord.

Matthew 17: 22-27
When they gathered together in Galilee, Jesus told them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised.” And they became greatly distressed. After they arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax came to Peter and said, “Your teacher pays the double drachma tax, doesn’t he?” He said, “Yes.” When Peter came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do earthly kings collect tolls or taxes – from their sons or from foreigners?” After he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. But so that we don’t offend them, go to the lake and throw out a hook. Take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth, you will find a four drachma coin. Take that and give it to them for me and you.”