Our Gospel reading today recounts what I think may be Jesus’ coolest miracle. (I know, I know…I shouldn’t “grade” the miracles of our Lord. But this one is very cool!) The collectors of the temple tax want to get what’s coming to them from Jesus. So Jesus tells Peter to go out and catch a fish. “Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax.” Imagine that!
In the first reading today from Deuteronomy 10, Moses asks the people a question. “What does the Lord, your God, ask of you?” He then answers the question, “…but to fear the Lord, your God, and follow his ways exactly, to love and serve the Lord, your God, with all your heart and all your soul, to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord which I enjoin on you today for your own good.”
If you ask the question “What does God ask of you?”, you’ll probably get as many answers as the number of people you ask. Jesus lets us know. Carry your cross. Follow Jesus. Love your neighbor as yourself. Do unto others. All hard stuff, no? Maybe the better question is Why? Why does God ask these things of us? Moses gives the answer. For your own good. You see, too many people see God as some being that takes some kind of macabre pleasure in making people’s lives miserable. Hardly! God is a loving Father. God always wants what is best for you. And we follow His commands and worship Him not because He needs any more glory. It is always for our own good.
Father, thank you for loving us enough to always have our best interest in mind. May we always do your will, for our own good. Amen.