Monday in the Nineteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings:  Dt 10:12-22; Mt 17:22-27      

Before I begin, I hope there are no tax collectors here this morning. Why do they call the 1040 a tax return if you get nothing back? Filling it out is something like a do-it-yourself mugging! And it’s so complicated. Even Einstein had to hire an accountant to figure out his tax return. In the good old days they used to collect taxes and then spend every penny. Now they spend every penny and more before they collect our money.

Taxes aren’t all bad. They pay for our roads and bridges; they support our armed forces. They supplement the cost of education and health care, especially for the poor. They protect the freedom of religion. So Jesus said to Peter, “… in order not to offend them … you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you.”

But today, the primacy of conscience and moral law, like the right to life, is being denied by abortion and terrorism. Jesus warned that, “Because wickedness is multiplied, most people’s love will grow cold, but whoever endures to the end will be saved,” (Mt. 24:12).   And, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Lk. 18:8).  In the future will even Christianity diminish and almost disappear?

How can we be prepared to stand firm and not lose hope?  Jesus told us to ask for the grace of perseverance: “Watch at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all the things that will take place and to stand before the Son of Man” (Lk 21:36).  I pray for this every day:  “Oh Lord, may I have the grace to endure and escape all that is to come and to stand before you in joy when you appear.”