June 6, 2017

June 6

June 6, 2017:  Tuesday, 9th week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Bird' pin:  Droppings from birds... (1st reading)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  ...blinded Tobit for 4 years (1st reading)
  • 'Doctor's office' tie:  "I went to see some doctors for a cure" (1st reading)
  • 'Heart' pin:  The heart of the just one is firm (psalm)
  • 'Coin' button:  Pay Caesar what's Caesar's; pay God what's God's (gospel)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season
For Psalm 112
Jesus often describes doctors of the law as hypocrites; they claim to have higher standards or nobler beliefs than is the case.  They proffer opinions and judge falsely.
The hypocrite uses language to flatter, as the Pharisees who tried to ensnare Jesus did.  Hypocrites begin with adulation, exaggerating truth, feeding vanity, but Jesus makes us see reality.  Flattery is triggered by bad intentions as in today's gospel, where Jesus is tested, first flattered then asked a question intended to trap him.  The hypocrite is two-faced, but Jesus knew to respond with the reality of the coin.
The language of hypocrisy is deceit, the language the serpent used with Eve.  It begins with flattery but ends up destroying people and communities, tearing personalities and souls.  Through gentle speech hypocrites judge and kill.  The only way to respond to flattery and ideology is with truth and reality.  Lord, guard us from the vice of hypocrisy; help us be truthful or at least keep silent.

  • Tb 2:9-14  Tobit:  Bird droppings fell into my eyes and blinded me.  My wife Anna received a goat as a bonus, but I thought it was stolen, got angry, and told her to return it to its owner.  Anna:  “Where's your virtue now?  Your true colors are showing!”
  • Ps 112:1-2, 7-9  "The heart of the just one is firm, trusting in the Lord."  Blessed those who fear the Lord.  They give to the poor, and their generosity shall endure.
  • Mk 12:13-17  Pharisees and Herodians trying to ensnare Jesus:  “Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar?” / “Bring me a denarius....  Whose image is this?” / “Caesar’s.” / “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”  They were amazed....

    • Creighton:  Paying the census tax was an acknowledgement of subservience; it wouldn't be expected from a revolutionary setting out to re-create a kingdom.  Today the blending of God and Caesar troubles many, while others feel the imperative to engage in it.
    Jesus wasn't afraid to challenge the status quo by treating everyone as worthy of God’s love.  Unconcerned about appearances, he fed the hungry, healed the sick, and comforted the sorrowing.  Wouldn't he use today's political system for compassion?   Do we?
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Mint condition?"  We're like coins; God's image was stamped on us at Baptism.  God owns us.  People who saw the Roman coin saw Caesar's image on it and so knew it belonged to Caesar.  Jesus implied that we who are stamped with God's image must give God what belongs to him, our lives.  We must reflect God's image to the world and enhance his image by offering him our lives.
    Denarius from Jesus' time
    As coins circulate through normal human activity, we who are stamped with God's image are to circulate in the world to be salt and light for Jesus.  Are we so worn that God's image is no longer visible to a world that unknowingly longs for him, or will we be in "mint condition" for the Lord so all may see him shining in our lives?
    • Passionist:  The coin in today’s gospel passage reminds me of the end of the 1st reading when Tobit's wife challenges him for being two-faced.  Tobit was generous and faithful to the covenant; his virtuous practice of burying the dead led to his becoming a fugitive till the king's death allowed him to reestablish his family.  When he was blinded, he seemed to lose his charitable attitude.  When he rashly judged that his wife stole a goat, she asked him what became of his virtue.  Hurt by his refusal to accept her explanation, she accused him of hypocrisy; maybe she even thought he doubted her work was good enough to merit such a bonus.  As the story unfolds, God's compassion brings healing when Tobit repents.
    We try to be faithful and do right, but in crisis we may not show our "best self."  When we recognize our wrong, ask forgiveness, and seek reconciliation with God and those we offended, God shows us compassion and brings healing too.  The two sides of a coin can remind us that our human nature is flawed but redeemed.  What will we give to God and our neighbor?
      Tobit and Anna/ de Pape
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Give God what belongs to God":  The Jewish authorities sought to trap Jesus in a dispute over taxes.  The Jews resented their foreign rulers and despised paying them taxes.  If Jesus answered it was lawful to pay the taxes, he'd lose credibility with the Jews who would regard him as a friend of Caesar; if he said no, the Pharisees could report him to Roman authorities and have him arrested.  Jesus avoided their trap by confronting them with the coin itself.
      We must give each their due.  We've been created in, stamped with, God's image and belong to God who created and redeemed us. We're to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God.  Do I live as if I belong to God and give God what's rightfully his?
        "Lord, because you made me, I owe you all my love; because you redeemed me, I owe you my self; because you promised so much, I owe you all my being.  I owe you more love than myself as you're greater and gave yourself.  Lord, make me taste by love what I taste by knowledge; let me know by love what I know by understanding.  I owe you more than my self but have no more, and by myself I can't render it to you.  Draw me to you in love.  I'm yours by creation; make me yours too in love." (St. Anselm)

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