Glorying in Both God’s Power and Mercy, Monday of the 19th Week of Ordinary Time (I), August 12, 2013

Fr. Roger J. Landry
St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River, MA
Monday of the 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Year I
Memorial of St. Jane Frances de Chantal
Dt 10:12-22, Ps 147, Mt 17:22-27

To listen to an audio of this homily, please click below: 


The following points were made in the homily:

  • As Christians, we need to be totally conscious of God’s power and justice and fully conscious of God’s mercy. Problems come when we emphasize God’s power and justice to the exclusion of his mercy, or his mercy to the exclusion of his justice.
  • In the first reading from the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses describes God as mighty awesome and stresses how he executes justice for the orphan and oppressed. Then we see his tender mercy in welcoming the strangers and helping us to become like him in his care for those in need.
  • Likewise in the Gospel, we see Jesus’ mercy lest he scandalize anyone by failing to pay the temple tax. We see on the flip side his power in how he has Peter miraculously catch a fish containing a coin with twice the temple tax. Since the Temple was his Father’s house, he was obviously exempt from the tax, but he would pay it any way, not so much by the coin found in the fish’s mouth but by his own body and blood, thereby making himself the new Temple and then, by his mercy, making it possible for us to become temples as well, if we pay the temple tax by our own life.
  • St. Jane Frances de Chantal and the Visitation Nuns in the community she founded have sought to live by these principles, first giving homage to God’s incredible majesty and adoring him, but then carrying out his mission of mercy praying for all the world. She and the Visitation nuns paid that temple tax with their beautiful life and sought in reparation to pay the temple tax for others by their life of prayer for the whole world.

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1
DT 10:12-22

Moses said to the people:
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD, your God, ask of you
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?
Think! The heavens, even the highest heavens,
belong to the LORD, your God,
as well as the earth and everything on it.
Yet in his love for your fathers the LORD was so attached to them
as to choose you, their descendants,
in preference to all other peoples, as indeed he has now done.
Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and be no longer stiff-necked.
For the LORD, your God, is the God of gods,
the LORD of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome,
who has no favorites, accepts no bribes;
who executes justice for the orphan and the widow,
and befriends the alien, feeding and clothing him.
So you too must befriend the alien,
for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.
The LORD, your God, shall you fear, and him shall you serve;
hold fast to him and swear by his name.
He is your glory, he, your God,
who has done for you those great and terrible things
which your own eyes have seen.
Your ancestors went down to Egypt seventy strong,
and now the LORD, your God,
has made you as numerous as the stars of the sky.”

Responsorial Psalm
PS 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20

R. (12a) Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has granted peace in your borders;
with the best of wheat he fills you.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

MT 17:22-27

As Jesus and his disciples were gathering in Galilee,
Jesus said to them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men,
and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.”
And they were overwhelmed with grief.When they came to Capernaum,
the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said,
“Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?”
“Yes,” he said.
When he came into the house, before he had time to speak,
Jesus asked him, “What is your opinion, Simon?
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.”