The Church of Saint Agnes

1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

The Church of Saint Agnes
1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

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Memorial of Saint Maximilian Kolbe

Date: 
Mon, 08/14/2017
Author: 
Rev. Msgr. Donald Enzweiler

The cross looms on the horizon.
Jesus informs the disciples of his tragic destiny:  his passion and death.
The folly of the cross will scandalize many,
will prevent them from accepting Jesus as the Son of God,
will turn them away from his message of salvation.
 
Faith in Jesus Christ is a fragile matter.
It requires a willingness to set aside the desire to embrace a material world.
It requires courage and strength to overcome fear and distrust.
It requires sacrifice, dedication, rejection of sin, and acceptance of mystery.
It demands a complete re-orientation of life.
At one point even some of Jesus’ disciples left him
because what he said was too much for them.
 
Impulsive Peter sets up a situation, of his own initiative,
that would have caused a group of people to be offended by Jesus.
Peter assures the tax collectors that Jesus pays the temple tax.
Later that day, Jesus makes sure Peter’s word is true to fact.
 
The important issue in today’s Gospel isn’t where or how Jesus gets the money to pay the tax.
The issue to consider is why he pays it.
He does not want to generate any unnecessary tension with this group of people.
He does not want to alienate, cause a rift with the tax collectors
He does not want to create opposition, make them angry, fuel any arguments.
 
Jesus wants to win converts not create enemies.
The situation Peter sets up might cause the tax collectors to resist belief in Jesus,
might put an obstacle in the way of their coming to faith.
Because of being offended, they might choose to remain in unbelief.
 
Jesus shows concern for the salvation of these tax collectors.
Being the Good Shepherd, the good pastor he is,
he wants to guard against anything that would cause them to reject the faith.
He doesn’t want them to harden their hearts against him.
 
Why create a problem for unbelievers?
God’s plan is to do away with division, hardship, even contempt
generated by misguided religious zeal.
An essential part of faith is to overcome anything
that resists and opposes belief in Jesus as the Son of God.
 
Within the human heart temptation to unbelief is great.
As disciples the last thing we want to do is to interfere
with the promptings of the Holy Spirit in an non-believer’s heart.
As believers we have an effect on non-believers.
By our words and actions and/or by our silence and inaction,
we can set into motion a person’s movement toward God
or we can cause an obstacle to be put in their path.
 
Today’s prayer:  “O Lord, increase my understanding of what it means to be a disciple.  Prevent me from creating unnecessary problems especially kindling resistance to faith in the hearts of non-believers.  Inspire me to give loving and sacrificial witness to faith in Your Son Jesus Christ by the example of St. Maximillian Kolbe.  Amen!”