Heartfelt and Truthful, Both

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Dominic, Priest
Readings: Ez 1:2-5, 24-28c; PS 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14; Mt 17:22-27
Notes: Being heartfelt is not enough. It is a good start but not enough. One must be truthful.

In our gospel portion today, Peter is rescued from his lie by Jesus himself. Peter is heartfelt, perhaps ignorant, attempting to protect Jesus from scandal was his goal. But Peter was wrong in fudging an answer.

There is no place in the Christian life for pretend answers.

Jesus corrects Peter two ways:

  1. Factually we are not obliged to pay the tax.
  2. But there is also the scandal therefore we shall pay it anyway.

And he provides from the fish in the sea a coin to pay the tax for them both.
A scandal for Peter is a scandal from Jesus and vice versa.

Bringing our Saint and our gospel together today, here is the contemplation on the conditions:

  1. Heartfelt but untruthful (Peter). Same with the Albigensians.
  2. Truthful but lacking heartfeltness (rich Catholic preachers).
  • Peter wanted to avoid scandal but created one lacking. Jesus came to his rescue.
  • Dominic came to the recuse of the rich, well appointed, Catholic preachers lacking.

The people are saved from error.



From Franciscanmedia:

On a journey through France with his bishop, Dominic came face to face with the then virulent Albigensian heresy at Languedoc. The Albigensians–or Cathari, “the pure ones”–held to two principles—one good, one evil—in the world. All matter is evil—hence they denied the Incarnation and the sacraments. On the same principle, they abstained from procreation and took a minimum of food and drink.

Dominic sensed the need for the Church to combat this heresy, and was commissioned to be part of the preaching crusade against it. He saw immediately why the preaching crusade was not succeeding: the ordinary people admired and followed the ascetical heroes of the Albigenses. Understandably, they were not impressed by the Catholic preachers who traveled with horse and retinues, stayed at the best inns and had servants. Dominic therefore, with three Cistercians, began itinerant preaching according to the gospel ideal. He continued this work for 10 years, being successful with the ordinary people but not with the leaders.

His fellow preachers gradually became a community, and in 1215 Dominic founded a religious house at Toulouse, the beginning of the Order of Preachers or Dominicans.


First reading
Like the bow which appears in the clouds on a rainy day
was the splendor that surrounded him.
Such was the vision of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.

Ezekiel shares a marvelous vision with us of the Lord upon the Cherubim.
Referencing the rainbow here he also includes us, as the bow that appears in the clouds on a rainy day has a very specific spiritual meaning:

When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and every living creature—every mortal being—so that the waters will never again become a flood to destroy every mortal being (Gen 9:14-15).

Responsorial Psalm
Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.

Alleluia Verse
God has called you through the Gospel
To possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Gospel Portion
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.”

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

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