— Memorial of Saint Clare —
Ordinary Time Week 19: Monday

“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 17:27)

Saint Cyril of Alexandria reflects on this verse from today’s Gospel, writes:

“He was also able to take the coin out of the earth, but he did not do so. [Instead he] made the miracle out of the sea, so that he might teach us the mystery rich in contemplation. For we are the fish snatched from the bitter disturbances of life. It is just as if we have been caught out of the sea on the apostles’ hooks. In their mouths the fish have Christ the royal coin, which was rendered in payment of debt for two things, for our soul and for our body. Also for two peoples, the Jews and the Gentiles. Also in the same way for the poor and the wealthy, since the old law clearly demanded the payment of the half-shekel from both rich and poor alike.” (Fragment 212)

Pondering today’s Patristic passage...
Saint Cyril presents an interesting image of a disciple of Jesus: fish pulled from the chaos of life on the hook of the apostles. Being snatched from the disturbances of life is a no-brainer: Yes — absolutely — make it happen — bring it on! Am I, however, willing to be caught by an apostle’s hook? To be hooked by an apostle is to be brought to Jesus and His way of living. I might even discover then, in the light of Jesus, that the chaos I am delivered from has been a chaos of my own creation!

O God,
Who in Your mercy led
Saint Clare to a love of poverty,
grant, through her intercession,
that, following Christ in poverty of spirit,
we may merit to contemplate You
one day in the heavenly Kingdom.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen