Monday of the 19th Week of Ordinary Time–Gold Fish?

Well, now we know why Jesus didn’t carry any money.  When He needed some cash he just sent one of the Apostles to get a gold coin out of a fish’s mouth.  Not bad.  Don’t you wish you could do that?

Maybe not.  A while back I mentioned that a lot of lottery winners actually end up worse off than they were before they won.  They waste all that money and end up broke.  Money that you don’t work for just doesn’t seem to stick around like it should.

But maybe Jesus is sending us a different message today.  Jesus had to pay a tax to go into the temple.  Our modern-day church may ask us for money.  In fact we’re coming into “second collection season” when it seems like there’s an extra envelope in the box almost every week.  The difference is that you don’t have to give anything if you don’t want to, or if you can’t.  Admission is free.  Donations are optional.

Maybe Jesus is telling Peter, and us, that the tax is just so much fish food.  The tax collectors aren’t working for the money so why should He.  After all, we know that our Lord had very little use for money.  “Give unto Caesar what is Caeser’s, and give to God what is God’s.”

It’s a fact that you and I need money to survive.  We’re expected to give an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.  We’re also expected to tithe; to use part of what receive to support the church and for charity.

We know that Saint Paul could have supported himself through the charity of others, but he chose to work for a living.  Our modern-day clergy make very little, some of us don’t get paid at all.  But we’re not here on earth to pile up stuff.  We’re here to live a holy life.  If we do, our reward will be so great that we can’t even imagine it.  Not having to work for a living just might give us too much time on our hands.  Like they say, “an idle hand is the devil’s playground.”

Fish that spit out gold coins might seem like a good thing, but in the grand scheme of things, having a finny ATM machine just might not be the best thing for us.

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