Sunday, August 07, 2016

Give That to Them

Above the firmament over their heads something like a throne could be seen,looking like sapphire. Upon it was seated, up above, one who had the appearance of a man. Upward from what resembled his waist I saw what gleamed like electrum; downward from what resembled his waist I saw what looked like fire; he was surrounded with splendor. Like the bow which appears in the clouds on a rainy day was the splendor that surrounded him. Such was the vision of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. Ezekiel 1:26-28

“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

Prayer for the Feast of St. Dominic
May God the Father, who made us, bless us. May God the Son, who redeemed us, send healing into our midst. 

May God the Holy Spirit, who gives us life, move within us.

May God give us eyes to see to God, ears to hear God, and hands to bring God’s work into the world.

May we walk with God and preach the word of God to all.
May the angel of peace watch over us and lead us at last by God's grace to the eternal Kingdom.

Can we sort out three disparate readings on the Feast Day of the Great Preacher St. Dominic?

First, we have a very Transfiguration-like reading from the prophet Ezekiel. This would have been a great option last Saturday paired with the Book of Daniel and the selection from Luke on the Mystery of the Transfiguration. However, we have it for today’s reflection.  In this passage, our God -- who transcends the powers of the human imagination -- is pictured here in the likeness of an enthroned human king more glorious than a “rainbow vested across the blue sky.”  A real human living among the heavens just like Michelangelo envisioned Adam and Christ.

Second, the Good News starts out with a very un-Good News scene with Jesus making the second prediction of his passion.  There is no way – no matter the grief which overcomes the apostles – to avoid the ultimate tax – death. In this case, death at the hands of those to whom Jesus is handed over.

Third, the Good News concludes with the revelation that although Jesus and the early Church are exempt from the Temple Tax, they should pay it anyway with a coin miraculously found in the mouth of a fish.

Good things come from fishing for fish or fishing for women/men or fishing for meaning.  

St. Dominic was not a literal fisher of fishes.  He was a priest and scholar.  There is a story told about St. Dominic in 1191, when Spain was desolated by famine.  Young Dominic gave away his money and sold his clothes, furniture and even precious manuscripts to feed the hungry. Dominic reportedly told his astonished fellow students, "Would you have me study off these dead skins, when men are dying of hunger?”

Let’s capture that spirit of generosity this month.  Have you noticed how much school supplies cost these days?  Despite the prevalence of smart phones, tablets, and computers, high schools still require graphing calculators (which discount stores sell for anywhere from $85 to almost $200.  That is before parents have to get the backpack, pens, paper and old-fashioned supplies. 

Picture these scenarios (scenaria?).  What if you are a high school student and your parents are in jail?  What if you are in juvenile detention?  What if your parents are unemployed?  These students have no less need for supplies than those children of two working parents. 

Find out a school or social program or parish in your area which is providing school supplies.  Sure, it will be easy to write a check.  But why not get the name of a student and go shopping praying their name while you shop? 

Miriam…Brian…Johanna…Martin. As you pray for your “adopted” student, use one of St. Dominic’s prayer postures outlined here. Miriam…Brian…Johanna…Martin.

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