I know that this sounds entirely unlikely but sometimes (yes, very rarely, but sometimes) I stumble across an episode of Friends that I haven't seen before. I always find myself wondering how, being a 30-something TV viewer who was around the first time the series aired, and after all these years and years of repeats, I could have missed an episode. I had a similiar experience at this at school this week.
On Monday my school celebrated it's annual speech competition. There are three categories – reciting a poem, reading a passage from the Bible and presenting a speech. To my surprise, one of our students read a passage from the Bible that I had NEVER, in my 30-something years of being a Catholic, heard before. And it wasn't just some obscure passage from the Old Testament or from the book of Revelation – it was a Gospel story! I was in such disbelief that afterwards I asked him for the reference to look it up myself.
In my mind I was thinking, 'Is this some story that's in a children's bible, but not in the adult version? Maybe he's reading from a non-Catholic bible?' So I turned to my faithful NRSV bible and looked up the reference and there it was… the story of Jesus and the Temple Tax, reproduced for you below…
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
Jesus and the Temple Tax
24 When they reached Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax[a] came to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the temple tax?”[b] 25 He said, “Yes, he does.” And when he came home, Jesus spoke of it first, asking, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their children or from others?” 26 When Peter[c] said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the children are free.27 However, so that we do not give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook; take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a coin;[d] take that and give it to them for you and me.”
Is it just me or is that a new story for you all too? Who knew that Peter found money to pay taxes in the mouth of a fish!? I'm guessing it's not one that is read as part of the Church's cycle of Sunday gospels. Very interesting.