I am at a loss what first to admire in this passage. Is it the foreknowledge that Jesus had that the coin required to pay tax was in the mouth of a fish and that the first fish to be taken? Or is it to admire Peter's faith, who was obedient in no easy matter, to go fishing, catch a fish, open its mouth and find a shekel just enough to pay the tax for two.
It was not by accident that Jesus was called a teacher. His actions were those of a teacher. He even gave tests, as effective teachers do, to encourage progress.
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Today, we celebrate the memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the patron saints of grandparents.
Jesus, after having received baptism in the river Jordan, begins His public ministry with the miracle at Cana. Previously, in our reading from Matthew, we have seen Jesus proclaiming the Kingdom of God. As He traveled across Judea and Galilee, He called His disciples, instructed them, preached in the synagogues, healed the sick, cast out demons and restored community to those who were rejected. He mingled freely with the sinners, forgave their sins, visited their homes, and dined with them; He is full of action.
On Monday, July 11, the U.S. President unveiled the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe to date captured by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Thousands of galaxies – including the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared – have appeared in Webb’s view for the first time showing us a slice of this vast universe.
I sometimes wonder if wonder and skepticism are, ultimately, the two primary emotions available to us when we encounter the unknown. The crowd demonstrates the first as they are amazed by Jesus’ acts of healing, culminating most recently in casting out a demon that restored speech, health, and community to the one possessed. The Pharisees, on the other hand, react with skepticism. Unable to explain Jesus’ healing power and unwilling to acknowledge his relationship to God, they not only dismiss His miracle, but even accuse Him of conspiring with the prince of demon.