REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 01, 2021: Tuesday

“Being bolstered by the Powerful Personality of Jesus, to be all determined and full of convictions”

(Based on Tob 2:9-14 and Mk 12:13-17 – Tuesday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time)

A little boy was pulling on some weeds with long deep roots…
… trying to get it out of the ground.

He pulled and pulled again…
… then decided to give one last jerk

And when he did…
… it came out – but he went tumbling over backwards!

Someone watching this said: “That was a tough fight, wasn’t it?”

The little boy – recovering himself and trying to get up, feeling a bit exhausted – replied: “Ah yes! It should have been!

After all… the whole world was pulling against me!”

How often does it happen that it seems the entire world is pulling against us…
… against our convictions and principles of life
… against our values and virtues of life

De we remain firm and determined, even it means undergoing some falling back and setbacks…
… or do we yield in to those forces – and quit and give up in life?

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus – who is all determined and full of convictions – boldly encountering the “deadly trap” being laid before him by the leaders of his time…
… and how He remains unscathed and uncompromising in presenting the full force of the Truth!

The Gospel passage begins with the verse: “Then they sent to Jesus some Pharisees and some Herodians to trap him in what he said.” (Mk 12:13)

The “they” in this verse refers to the chief priests, the scribes and the elders (Mk 11: 27b)

This group had already been silenced by the Lord…

In questioning Jesus of His authority, they found themselves facing a tougher question from Jesus. (Mk 11: 27-33)
Jesus also told a parable of the Tenants in the vineyard, which alluded to their closed attitude to accept Him as the Messiah of their lives (Mk 12: 1-12)

This group of chief priests, scribes and the elders, went away…
… with hatred in their against Jesus
… with a mind to plot further against Jesus

So, they got together two opposing parties, in their scheme to oppose Jesus.

These two opposing parties were the Pharisees and the Herodians (Mk 12: 13)

Who are the Pharisees?

The Pharisees were primarily not a political party but a group of scholars and pious people. They enjoyed a large popular following, and in the Gospels, they appear as spokesmen for the majority of the population.

They hated the pagan Roman occupation of Israel.
Their hope was for a new Judas Maccabee who would arise and throw off the Roman empire.
Many of the common people embraced their patriotic message.

Who are the Herodians?

Their name came from King Herod, who was a half Jew and had made a made a political deal with the Romans.

The Herodians held political power, and supported King Herod Antipas, the Roman Empire’s ruler over much of the land of the Jews from 4 B.C. to A.D. 39.
The Herodians favoured submitting to the Herods, and therefore to Rome, for political pragmatism.

The Pharisees were obsessed with their religious traditions…
… while the Herodians had little religion at all.

Yet, when Jesus spoke and opposed both formalism and love of worldliness…
… these two groups came together in their opposition to Him!

And they trap Jesus with a very cunning question, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” (Mk 12: 14c)

If Jesus had said:
No, you should not pay taxes….
… that no true Israelite who loves God should willingly pay the tax as the Roman Coin with the image of Caesar and all of his titles claiming to be divine is blasphemous…

All of the common people would have said, “How godly man is He!”

But Jesus would have been arrested for sedition and treason.

On the other side, if Jesus had said:
Yes, you should pay taxes….
… that it is not bad since the Roman empire brings stability and economic prosperity…

All of the common people would have abandoned Him saying, “He is a betrayer of God’s law!”

Jesus would have been badly persecuted for misleading them from the path of God.

It was trouble either way…

But Jesus, the Lord of all wisdom and knowledge, found His way through the maze of human shrewdness by answering:
“Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Mk 12: 17)

Jesus said that what is most important in life is one’s supreme allegiance to God!

Political demands, social commitments, familial duties, communitarian stipulations all have their place and position…

But above all, what needs to be given the prime importance in one’s life is: Allegiance to God!

We live in times and situations wherein there are many forces, philosophies and thought-patterns, that join hands in opposing the teachings of Jesus and the Church.

Jesus is still an enemy to many of the truth-denying realities in the world.
The Church is still opposed by many of the immoral entities of the world.

It is our duty to remain firm in our faith and render absolute allegiance to the Lord…
… in order to oppose and fight against such adverse and opposing factors in the world.

Even when it seems that the entire world is pulling against us…
… against our convictions and principles of life
… against our values and virtues of life

We are called to remain firm and determined, even it means undergoing some apparent falling back and setbacks!

We specially thank the Lord for the Gift of the month of May – and in particular to the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary…
…. And as we begin this new month of June, we offer ourselves specially to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Let us be bolstered by the Powerful Personality of Jesus, to be all determined and full of convictions…
… boldly encountering the “deadly traps” being laid before us by the forces of our times
… and with His Grace, remain, unscathed and uncompromising in presenting the full force of Jesus, the Truth!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

By attributing to Jesus the Divine Title “Lord”, the first confessions of the Church’s faith affirm from the beginning…
… that the power, honour and glory due to God the Father are due also to Jesus, because “he was in the form of God”
… and the Father manifested the sovereignty of Jesus by raising him from the dead and exalting him into his glory.
From the beginning of Christian history, the assertion of Christ’s lordship over the world and over history has implicitly recognized…
… that man should not submit his personal freedom in an absolute manner to any earthly power, but only to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
“The Church believes that the key, the centre and the purpose of the whole of man’s history is to be found in its Lord and Master.”
Christian prayer is characterized by the title “Lord”…
… whether in the invitation to prayer (“The Lord be with you”)
… its conclusion (“through Christ our Lord”)
… or the exclamation full of trust and hope: Maranatha (“Our Lord, come!”)

… or Maranatha (“Come, Lord!”) – “Amen Come Lord Jesus (Cf. CCC # 449-451)

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