Citizens of heaven

Today’s Gospel reading:

When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said, “Doesn’t 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.” — Matthew 17:24-27

The Greek word used for “subjects” was originally translated as “sons.” As the Son of God, Jesus was exempted from paying the temple tax. The same goes for His disciples who were also children of God.

Yet, Jesus paid the temple tax in order to follow the Mosaic Law, which according to many Bible scholars was the basis of the payment of the temple tax. Even if His citizenship was of heaven, He was faithful to His earthly obligations.

As Catholics and Christians, we are called to remain faithful — both to our eternal and earthly obligations. While Jesus is our Lord and our citizenship is of heaven, we are still required to follow earthly rules and authorities (as long as they are not contrary to the natural law and to the commandments of God).


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