Matthew 17:22-27 What is your opinion?
“Father, what is your opinion about embryonic stem-cell research, euthanasia, suicide, cloning, abortion, birth control, fertility clinics, homosexual marriage, pre-marital sex, etc… [The list appears to grow every day!] Obviously, when someone asks me a few or all of these questions, I know I am in for a fight. Bring it on! I have always been shocked at how Atheists are more offended by Christians, their signs, customs and traditions than the other way around. For this reason, our way of life, created by God, is under attack at its very core: from the earliest moments of life and the beginning of creation, to the twilight of death and the dignity or respect towards the elderly. God said, “Let us make man in our image…man and woman he made them.” Then God said, “Let them multiply and fill the earth.” And he said, “It was very good.” As you can see, God’s creation and plan is under attack from all sides. It appears as though God’s plan is not good enough for man.
Regardless, The Church continues to preach the Gospel of Life, of Truth and of Jesus Christ. What do you preach?
In today’s Gospel passage, we learn of Peter’s lie. When the collectors of the temple tax approach Peter, they ask him, “Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?” Peter is embarrassed, nervous, and confused. He answers, “Well, of course!” His answer is a lie. Christ had not paid the tax nor had he any intention of paying the tax. Why should he? He is in his Father’s house [the Universe]. He has no need to pay rent, or room and board. He is the King’s son and the disciples are his subjects.
Do we not belong to Christ? Have we not been ransomed by his death and resurrection? “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘The Son of Man is to be handed over to men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.’ And they were overwhelmed with grief.” We must never forget, it was the governing institutions that put the Savior to death.
We have no need to apologize for our faith, or for our Church. Rather, we are called to lift up our faith, our God, above human idols and altars. We have no need to be embarrassed about our God who died at the hands of men claiming to be acting in the name of justice and peace! How very different are the promises of men to those of God! We preach as St. Paul preaches, the scandal of the cross –“a stumbling block to Jews, and an absurdity to Gentiles.” As always, “God’s folly is wiser than men, and His weakness more powerful than men.” (1Cor 1:25)
“But that we may not offend anyone,” show great patience, mercy and love to those who ridicule you, attack you and are insulted (jealous) because of you. The next time the Lord asks you to witness your faith (your Church, our God) to an unbeliever, be prepared to be attacked! But do not dare bow down to their level or make excuses for yourself or your Church. “Heaven and earth are filled with His glory!” God does not need to be excused by you, nor is the world in need of another opinion. Isn't that how all arguments seem to end today, "That's your opinion." The world is in need of the truth. In fact, the world is in need of The Truth, The Way and The Life.
After all, those who attack the Lord, are they really that much happier, satisfied, fulfilled or at peace than those marked with the sign of faith?