Circumcise your heart. Love the sojourner, for you were sojourners.
A reading from the Book of Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 10:12-22)
Moses spoke to the people, saying, “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I command you this day for your good? Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it; yet the Lord set his heart in love upon your fathers and chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as at this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner therefore; for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve him and cling to him, and by his name you shall swear. He is your praise; he is your God, who has done for you these great and terrible things which your eyes have seen. Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons; and now the Lord your God has made you as the stars of heaven for multitude.”
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm147: 12-13.14-15.19-20 (R. 12a)
R/. O Jerusalem, glorify the Lord.
O Jerusalem, glorify the Lord!
O Sion, praise your God!
He has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you. R.
He established peace on your borders;
he gives you your fill of finest wheat.
He sends out his word to the earth,
and swiftly runs his command. R.
R/. O Jerusalem, glorify the Lord.
He reveals his word to Jacob;
To Israel, his decrees and judgements.
He has not dealt thus with other nations;
He has not taught them his judgements. R.
ALLELUIA 2 Thessalonians 2:14
Alleluia. God has called us through the Gospel, to obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Alleluia.
They will kill him, and he will be raised. The sons are free from tribute.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 17:22-27)
At that time: As the disciples were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed. When they came to Capernaiun, the collectors of the half-shekel tax went up to Peter and said, “Does not your teacher pay the tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he came home, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their sons or from others?” And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. However, not to give offence to them, go to the sea and cast a hook, and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel; take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Moses wanted his people to know God and understand what God required of them. They were expected to know God, love him, serve him and keep his laws and statues. Similarly, our Christian faith teaches us the basic purpose for which God created us. And, as children of God, we are also to be law-abiding citizens. Jesus paid temple tax to give us an example of what it means to be a good citizen. The temple tax was for upkeep of the temple. Serving God must not take us away from our social responsibilities; rather, our closeness to God should make us even more aware of our obligations to the society in which we live.