Tuesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial Feast: Saint Justin, Martyr (100-+165) Patron Saint of Philosophers
Book of Tobit 2:9-14, Psalm 112:1-2, 7-8, 9, & Mark 12:13-17
In today's Gospel narrative, the Pharisees and Herodians ask Jesus whether it is lawful or unlawful to pay taxes to Caesar. The question, of course, is a snare. If Jesus answers that it is right to pay the tax, He will incur the anger of the people, or if He answers that it is not right to pay the tax, He would be reported to the Roman authorities as a rebel against the Empire. There seems to be no way out of the dilemma. Before answering, Jesus asks for a coin that bears the image of Caesar. After receiving it, we hear Jesus's reply to the original question, "Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God."
Our Lord's answer to the Pharisees and Herodians express the existence of two kinds of activity—the eternal and the temporal. Of course, we know that everything belongs to God. However, these words show that there are areas in the temporal world, such as governments in which, to a certain degree, are independent because God wanted it to be so. Yet, politics and policy remain subordinate to God's rule. Jesus wants His disciples to understand that their first loyalty is to God on all matters pertaining to God. In other words, the First Commandment, "I Am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have any strange gods before Me," and then to judge all issues from the vantage point of God's Holy Will regarding humans and the world.
Sisters and brothers, we must give back to God what He has given to us, which is ourselves, and He will replace it with Himself. As a result, we will become the person(s) that He created us to be. In concrete terms, God must come first before all else in our lives!
Question of the Day: How can you give to God what is God's?
Prayer: "May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to his call." Alleluia, alleluia.