Today’s first reading is from the opening chapter of the Book of Ezekiel. In it Ezekiel sees a vision of heaven. It is truly an awesome sight.
In the Gospel reading from Matthew 17, the collectors of the temple tax ask Peter whether Jesus pays the tax. When Peter walks into the room where Jesus is, Jesus asks him a question. “From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax? From their subjects or from foreigners?” Peter replies, “From foreigners.” Jesus says, “Then the subjects are exempt.” He then works a most amazing miracle.
“The subjects are exempt.” This reminds me of our responsibility to tithe. Notice that when you walk into church, no one exacts a tax upon you. You are not forced to give one red cent. There is no longer a “temple tax.” You are free to give or not give. The question, really, is SHOULD you give? The answer is a resounding YES! We should be generous to God because of our gratitude for his generosity to us. No coercion. Just an open heart filled with love.
Father, may we be always generous in helping the Church spread the gospel message. Amen.