A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark 12:13-17
And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to entrap him in his talk. And they came and said to him, " Teacher, we know that you are true, and care for no man: for you do not regard the position of men, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?" But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, "Why put me to the test? Bring me a coin, and let me look at it." And they brought one. And he said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?" They said to him, "Caesar's." Jesus said to them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's" And they were amazed at him. The Gospel of the Lord
REFLECTION: "Give to God what belongs to God"
Be careful of ensnaring talk--the minefield of words. People who are too complimentary be wary of for they usually want something. Be also careful with people who phrase questions or responses that could have a double meaning or could put you in a corner. The Pharisees and the Herodians were trying to put Jesus on the spot. They were trying to get him into a religious vs state dispute over taxes. If Jesus said it was lawful to pay the taxes to a pagan ruler, then he would lose credibility to the Jewish people who would view him as a traitor or coward and a friend of Caesar. If he said it was not lawful, then they would report him to the Romans as a troublemaker and then have him arrested.
The ruler who had his image on the coin held a lot of power. Jesus said that whatever belonged to Caesar should go back to Caesar. The answer sufficed the Pharisees for the moment. The Pharisees flattered, and they acted friendly in hopes that Jesus would fall victim to their connivery.
However, God does not want you to make the same mistake of the Pharisees. He wants us to be honest, sincere, and open without a hidden agenda. If you have an issue with a person, be humble and loving. Most likely your efforts will free you to love that person. Remember how Jesus loved everyone. Remember how he fed everyone, and remember how he forgave those who crucified him.
We have been stamped in the image of God. We are created in His own likeness (Genesis 1: 26-27) and redeemed by the most precious blood of His son, Jesus. We are the image of God; however, man, after rebelling and disobeying God in the Garden of Eden, donned the image of the world. He donned the image of the ruler of the world. We,too, should give back to the ruler of the world that which belongs to him and seek our creator and give to Him that which belongs to Him--our souls!!
We beg you Lord to please give us the grace to love as you love. May we give back to the ruler of the world our gossip, our fake flattery, our conniving, our deceiving, our lying, our belittling, and our bloatful pride. We give all we have to you Lord. Amen.
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