June 2, 2015

Gospel MK 12:13-17
Some Pharisees and Herodians were sent
to Jesus to ensnare him in his speech.
They came and said to him,
“Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man
and that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion.
You do not regard a person’s status
but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?
Should we pay or should we not pay?”
Knowing their hypocrisy he said to them,
“Why are you testing me?
Bring me a denarius to look at.”
They brought one to him and he said to them,
“Whose image and inscription is this?”
They replied to him, “Caesar’s.”
So Jesus said to them,
“Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God.”
They were utterly amazed at him.
Reflection:
In an effort to trap Jesus into saying something against the Roman overlords of Israel, the Pharisees and followers of Herod first flatter Jesus.
“Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man
and that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion.”
Then they ask him a question designed to put him in disfavor with either the ruling Romans or his own followers.
“Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?
Should we pay or should we not pay?”
Immediately seeing through their hypocrisy he asks,
“Why are you testing me?”
Not possessing a coin of his own, Jesus the wandering preacher asks
his distractors to provide a coin of their own undoing, “Bring me
a denarius to look at.”
Examining the coin, Jesus asks, “Whose image and inscription is this?”
They reply, “Caesar’s.”
Deftly, Jesus avoids their trap by answering, “Repay to Caesar what belongs
to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”
The story ends with the words, “They were utterly amazed at him.”
Two thousand years have passed, and the lessons taught by the “wandering preacher” still apply. Hypocrisy must be met with truth, and a Christian must show God’s love to sinner and saint alike.
It is right to respect and obey the laws of both man and God, but where the two
collide, our allegiance must always be to the law of love laid down by Jesus Christ.
“Many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him?” Mark 6:2