Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Gospel Reflection

June 04, 2013
Tuesday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
by Rev. Fr. Ramon Jade L. Licuanan (Commissioner, Commission on Youth, Archdiocese of Manila)
12;15PM Mass, Mary, Queen of Peace Shrine (Our Lady of Peace Quasi Parish/EDSA Shrine)

Reading 1 Tb 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 PS 112:1-2, 7-8, 9

R. (see 7c) The heart of the just one is firm, trusting in the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
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.
R. The heart of the just one is firm, trusting in the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
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.
R. The heart of the just one is firm, trusting in the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
Lavishly he gives to the poor;
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R. The heart of the just one is firm, trusting in the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel 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 manand 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.


What does it mean when Jesus says "repay to Ceasar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God?" What does it mean? Is it a call from Jesus to 'compartamentalize' our lives? That we have our social life, and no other areas should influence it, including God? That we have our own love life, and it is our own business, not of the Church? That our life is our business, that there is nothing that God should do about it? Is it a suggestion from God to put compartments in our life, separated from each other, when He said those words?

You know, Jesus made use of this opportunity as a tactic from the authorities, to convey an important message. When Jesus said, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, give to God what is God's", He is making use of the opportunity to tell us that everything is under God's word. Everything in our lives should be under the authority of God. Every area of our life should be under the authority of God's statutes. Business, love life, political life, whatever kind of life - they should be under God's rule. It is a very opportune time for Jesus to teach the truth.

That's why it's so sad when we hear people say 'You people of the Church, you remain to your Church. Don't meddle about elections and political candidates." No, I don't think so. If you are truly clear about God's statutes, you would realize that to be a follower of God, to be a Christian, to be a Catholic, is also to be a good citizen. Ang sabi nga - ang isang mabuting Katoliko ay mabuting Pilipino. You cannot separate these two.

Along history, you would often, frequently discover and learn the many Catholic social teachings that the Church has been issuing all these generations. And from the very beginning, you will realize that the Church will always encourage us to be mindful of others, mindful of the society, mindful of the Government. Therefore, that only proves to us that indeed, to be a good Catholic, to be a zealous follower of God, is to be concerned about what's happening around the community, among our brethren.

That is why all the more, even in recent years, we will witness the Church really making a firm stance on many issues affecting our lives. Why? Because God, after all, is mindful. In fact, when we are in need of something, we go to God, we pray to God. Now why don't we put God in all these things, in all these arenas? If we seek God's favors, if we seek God to bestow upon us some requests and favors, then why would we not put God in the center of things?

My dear friends, the challenge for us is that we have to understand on a deeper level what God meant when He said, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, give to God what is God's". It is not an offer or a command from God to compartamentalize our lives. It is, in fact, a very clear mandate of God to integrate all the areas and aspect of our life into one - under God's rule.