Mass Reading & Meditation for June 4, 2013
Meditation: Mark 12:13-17
9th Week in Ordinary Time
“Repay … to God what belongs to God.” (Mark 12:17)
“I know! Let’s ask him a question that has no right answer. Either he’ll have to blaspheme, or speak of treason. Either way, he’s ours!”
For the Pharisees and Herodians who were plotting against Jesus, this either-or trap was foolproof. You were either living according to the law, or you weren’t. You were either for Caesar, or you weren’t.
But Jesus saw things a little differently. He deftly answered their question, but at the same time he also offered them freedom from their own trapped mind-set. Yes, pay your taxes, and fulfill your responsibility to Caesar since his image is on the coin. But be sure to give to God what belongs to him—your heart, which bears the stamp of his image!
Sometimes we might get stuck in an either-or trap, too. Educated and uneducated, upper class and working class, black and white, we define ourselves by saying who we are and who we aren’t. But this kind of thinking can become divisive rather quickly. It can lead to an us-versus-them mentality that has the potential to ruin relationships and even turn into violent conflicts. It is no wonder that religion and politics are banned from many dinner tables!
But Jesus offers us the same window that he offered his detractors so long ago. He is constantly reminding us that we—all of us—belong to him. He is constantly telling us, too, that every part of us belongs to him—not just a fraction of our time and money but all of who we are. There is no room for either-or thinking, and that means that we don’t have to worry about whether we belong or not. Whether we like it or not, we are all part of the one family of God!
Today, think of one person or group that you struggle to understand. Maybe they think differently or act differently than you do. Ask the Lord to help you see them as your brothers and sisters. Ask him to heal any divisiveness in your heart. We all bear the stamp of our Maker, and he longs to bring us together as one people!
“Lord, help me to give my whole heart to you.”
Tobit 2:9-14; Psalm 112:1-2, 7-9