First Reading: 1 Peter 3:12-15, 17-18
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 90
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. (Mk 12:13-17)
In today's Gospel, we read of yet another plot to catch Jesus in His words. Little do they know that Jesus is God who only speaks the truth and His words have a way of silencing those who even ask the most loaded questions. While the Pharisees and Herodians intentions were not the best, their question is actually a good one. Should we pay our taxes? Jesus answers with a yes, it is okay to pay taxes, to "Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar." Though it is okay, and a responsibility of each of us to pay our taxes, we must not forget the other part of what Jesus says, and that is "and to God what belongs to God." This means that even though we should be responsible and pay our taxes, we cannot and should not ever forget to give to God what belongs to Him.
One way that we can give to God is by tithing. Having to pay taxes, having a high mortgage and insurance, or needing a new car is no reason not to tithe. We should each strive to give 10% of what we make to the Church, but if that is not possible, then we should try to give all that we have. Like the Gospel account of the poor widow who gave everything that she had into the treasury (see Mark 12:41-44); we too are also called to give all that we can to God. After all it is all His and all because of Him that we have what we have in the first place!
While God is certainly pleased with the sacrifices and generosity that we give through tithing, this is not the only area that we should be striving to give in. We can also give to God through our time and prayers. God, who always makes time for us is deserving of our time. Many of us simply try to work God into our day and to fit in a few prayers hear and there. The reality is that we should be working our lives around God and around prayer. Our Creator loves us so much, and really wants to help us live the best life possible. It would be in our best interest to spend time with Him each and every day. The days when we are stressed and really pressed for time, we should spend even more time with Him.
God loves us more than we deserve, and regardless He waits for us ready to pour out His love and mercy. Let us never take this for granted, and always seek to give to God what belongs to Him ... and that is us.
Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you have blessed us with in this life and for all that you do. Lord, help us to live for you and to make this life into what you will for us. Lord, we are your children, help us to be obedient to you and to serve only you in our life. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.