Voices ever ancient, ever new. Monday-Week19-2013.

In commenting on Matthew 17:27 from today’s Mass Readings, Origen of Alexandria writes:

“This coin was not in Jesus’ house but happened to be in the mouth of a fish in the sea. This too, I think, was a result of God’s kindness. It was caught and came up on the hook belonging to Peter, who was the fisher of men. That which is figuratively called a fish was caught in order that the coin with the image of Caesar might be taken from it, that it might take its place among those which were caught by them who have learned to become fishers of men. Let him, then, who has the things of Caesar render them to Caesar, that afterwards he may be able to render to God the things of God. But since Jesus is the image of God the unseen and did not have the image of Caesar (for there was nothing in him that had anything to do with the prince of this world), he therefore took the image of Caesar from a suitable place in the sea, so as to pay it to the kings of the earth as the contribution of himself and his disciple. Jesus did this so that those taking the half-shekel might not suppose Jesus to be in debt either to them or to the kings of the earth. For he paid the debt, one he had never taken on or possessed or used to buy anything or made his personal possession, to prevent the image of Caesar ever being alongside the image of the invisible God (Commentary on Matthew, 13).”