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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Tuesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Tob 2:9-14): On the night of Pentecost, after I had buried the dead, I, Tobit, went into my courtyard to sleep next to the courtyard wall. My face was uncovered because of the heat. I did not know there were birds perched on the wall above me, till their warm droppings settled in my eyes, causing cataracts. I went to see some doctors for a cure but the more they anointed my eyes with various salves, the worse the cataracts became, until I could see no more. For four years I was deprived of eyesight, and all my kinsmen were grieved at my condition. Ahiqar, however, took care of me for two years, until he left for Elymais.

At that time, my wife Anna worked for hire at weaving cloth, the kind of work women do. When she sent back the goods to their owners, they would pay her. Late in winter on the seventh of Dystrus, she finished the cloth and sent it back to the owners. They paid her the full salary and also gave her a young goat for the table. On entering my house the goat began to bleat. I called to my wife and said: «Where did this goat come from? Perhaps it was stolen! Give it back to its owners; we have no right to eat stolen food!». She said to me, «It was given to me as a bonus over and above my wages». Yet I would not believe her, and told her to give it back to its owners. I became very angry with her over this. So she retorted: «Where are your charitable deeds now? Where are your virtuous acts? See! Your true character is finally showing itself!».
Responsorial Psalm: 111
R/. The heart of the just one is firm, trusting in the Lord.
Blessed the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commands. His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth; the upright generation shall be blessed.

An evil report he shall not fear; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear till he looks down upon his foes.

Lavishly he gives to the poor; his generosity shall endure forever; his horn shall be exalted in glory.
Versicle before the Gospel (Eph 1:17-18): Alleluia. 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.
Gospel text (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.

«Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God»

Fr. Manuel SÁNCHEZ Sánchez (Sevilla, Spain)

Today, we marvel again at Christ's wit and wisdom. With his masterly response, He directly points out to the fair autonomy of the worldly realities: “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar” (Mk 12:17).

Today's Word, however, is something more than knowing how to successfully get out of a conflict; it is something utterly relevant to all aspects of our life: what am I giving God? Is it really what I value the most in my life? Where did I place my heart? Because... “where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Lk 12:34).

Yes, indeed, according to St. Jerome, “you must necessarily render unto Caesar the coin in his image; but you willingly give your best to God, because it is his image, not Caesar's, that is on us”. Throughout his life, Jesus Christ constantly poses the matter of choice. It is up to us to choose, and our options are clear: either we choose the worldly values to live by or we decide to live by the Gospel's values.

It is always a time for choice before us, a time for conversion, a time to “replace” our life again in the dynamics of God. Our prayer, and specially the prayer made by God's Word, will allow us to discover what God expects of us. He who chooses God becomes God's dwelling place, for “whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him” (Jn 14:23). And prayer becomes the true school where, as Tertullian says, “Christ teaches us which was the Father's will He carried out in this world and what was the duty of man so that it is in agreement with this very purpose”. If only we would succeed in choosing what is most convenient to us!