19th Week in Ordinary Time
Pontian and Hippolytus
1st Reading: Ezk 1:2–5, 24–28c
On the fifth of the month (it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiakin) the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, son of Buzi, the priest, in the land of the Chaldeans by the banks of the Kebar.
There the hand of Yahweh was upon me.
I looked: a windstorm came from the north bringing a great cloud. A fiery light inside it lit up all around it, while at the center there was something like a glowing metal.
In the center were what appeared to be four creatures with the same form.
I heard the noise of their wings when they moved, similar to the roar of many waters, similar to the voice of the Most High, the noise of a multitude or of a camp. When they were not moving they lowered their wings.
I heard a noise above the platform over their heads. Above it was a throne resembling a sapphire and high on this throne was a figure similar to that of a man. Then I saw a light as of glowing bronze as if fire enveloped him from his waist upwards. And from his waist downwards it was as if fire gave radiance around him. The surrounding light was like a rainbow in the clouds after a day of rain. This vision was the likeness of Yahweh’s Glory.
Gospel: Matthew 17:22-27
While Jesus was in Galilee with the Twelve, he said to them, “The Son of Man will be delivered into human hands, and they will kill him. But he will rise on the third day.” The Twelve were deeply grieved.
On returning to Capernaum, the Temple tax collectors came to Peter and asked him, “Does your master pay the temple tax?” He answered, “Certainly.”
Peter then entered the house, but immediately Jesus asked him, “What do you think, Simon? Who pay taxes or tributes to the kings of the earth: their sons or the other people?” Peter replied, “The others.” And Jesus told him, “The sons, then, are tax-free. But so as not to offend these people, go to the sea, throw in a hook and open the mouth of the first fish you catch. You will find a coin in it, take it and let it pay for you and for me.”
There is so much Christian literature on suffering. Blessed Henry Suso, a 14th century Dominican shares this reflection: “…But now I must cheerfully begin a new and strange song of praise that I have never known before, since it has now been revealed to me by suffering. It is this: I wish… that all the pain and suffering that I ever knew, and all the painful grief of all hearts, the pain of all wounds, the groans of all the sick, the piteous sighs of all sad souls, the tears of all weeping eyes, the wrongs suffered by all oppressed persons… all the hidden and open pain and sorrow, which I or any other downcast sufferer ever underwent… that all these may become one song of eternal praise, heavenly Father; an everlasting glory to your Son, from eternity to eternity.” Only someone who has known great joy can find God also in sorrow.
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