Readings for Tuesday June 2, 2009
First Reading: Tobit 2:9-14
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 112
Gospel: Mark 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. (Mark 12:13-17)
"Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God." Well, I hope that everyone filed and paid their taxes this year, because according to this passage it looks as if there is no getting around that. In this wonderful gospel reading where Jesus dishes up a slice of humble pie for the pharisees and Herodians; Jesus reminds us of something very important, priorities. He is telling that it is okay to live in this world and to take care of our responsibilities, but we cannot live of this world and we cannot let it be the only thing that we are concerned with.
God must have number one priority in our life, and we must be giving to Him what belongs to Him; and that is us. Is God taking top priority in your life? When you tithe money, do you give 10% or do you give to your own wants first? Is the first thing you do in the morning is drop to your knees in prayer or proceed to enjoy your coffee and breakfast? Are Sundays filled with rest and God's work, or is it filled with work and a "to do list?" We are all certainly guilty of this, and the fact is that we can all do a better job in our faith lives and in putting God first. Gospels like this remind us that God needs to be first, and with all that He has given us, He is deserving of our whole lives.
Remember, it is okay to be responsible and to give to the world what belongs to it, but in doing so we cannot let God be second or third, He must be first and we must always be seeking to do His will all the time.
Father above we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord we praise you for all that you freely give to us; we thank you for your love and mercy; may we also be loving and merciful to others as you are to us. Lord, help us to seek you first and to not seek our own interests. Help us to live in this world and not of it. Lord we seek to do your will first and foremost; grant us the faith and courage to follow you with all that we are. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.