Jesus avoids the Pharisees and Herodians’ entrapment by confirming the justice of serving God and respecting worldly authorities. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Fruit of Faithfulness so he can reject idolatry and put his faith in only God and by building the Virtue of Truth so can discern and support faithful and virtuous political leaders.

Liturgy

9th Week in Ordinary Time – Tuesday – Mk 12:13-17

Commentary

After Jesus thoroughly rebuked the Jewish priests, scribes and elders, now two other opposing Jewish factions join forces to confront, condemn, and silence Jesus. The Pharisees were ultra-rigorous Jews who believed God would reward Israel if every Jewish man perfectly kept the various Jewish laws. The Herodians, the Romans’ choice to administer Roman rule in the various parts of the former Israel, were Jewish elites who enjoyed riches and power by collaborating with the Romans. 

Scheming, the Pharisees and Herodians seek to trap Jesus. They attempt to flatter Him, ironically speaking but understating the truth about Jesus (is Truth, is superior to men, is the Way of God), but are liars because they don’t actually believe what they are saying. Foolish, they think they’ve set the perfect trap: If Jesus says, “to pay” the census tax to Caesar, they can accuse Him of siding with the Romans, and if Jesus says, “do not pay”, they can report Him to Caesar for insurrection.   

Jesus easily sees through their hypocrisy and childish trap, authoritatively directing the Herodians and Pharisees to bring Him a denarius, a Roman coin with Caesar’s image, idolatrously venerated by Romans as the son of God. They foolishly bring Jesus a coin proving their own hypocrisy by carrying an idolatrous coin, and then He forces them to further participate in their own humiliation, asking whose image is on the coin. After they reply “Caesar”, Jesus responds with words that have been quoted for over 2000 years, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.”  Totally outwitted, the Herodians and Pharisees are left, “utterly amazed.”  

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Be impressed by Jesus as He easily masters the best and brightest of His enemies: He Prudently assesses the wicked men who seek to trap Him and their scheme; in Anger, He bluntly Rebukes them and asserts His Authority by commanding them to produce a coin; using impeccable deductive Logic (a part of Reason), He forces His enemies to consider their higher call to serve God and the need for Obedience (a part of Justice) to civil authorities, leaving them humiliated and stunned.

Reject idolatry and put faith only in God

Realize: Today there is a great idolatry of politicians, activists, corporate leaders, academics and various experts, many who promise progress to a better world but promote ideas which oppose God; every Catholic man must reject the idolatry of the false worship of men and put their exclusive faith in God.

Believe: Reflect upon Idolatry in The 1st Commandment (CCC 2112-2114).

Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Fruit of Faithfulness so I do not fall into the grave sin of idolatry of men and place my exclusive faith in the Blessed Trinity and the Holy Catholic Church. 

Endorse faithful and virtuous political leaders

Realize: Across time, immoral and incompetent political leaders lie to the masses to gain power and then wreak havoc on human society by governing in ways that oppose God: immoral laws, unjust wars, oppression, enrichment of the powerful, corrupt and excessive spending, division, hatred, etc. Every Catholic man should be led by God to support leaders who love God, are virtuous and have the proven skills for the job, and who promote truth, goodness, and beauty in society.  

Believe: Reflect upon Authorities in Civil Society (CCC 2234-2246).

Pray: Jesus, Divine Truth, help me build the Virtue of Truth (a part of Justice) so I know and love Your Truth, I do my best to seek the truth about political candidates, and I am guided by You to endorse faithful and virtuous leaders.