05 June 2018: A Holy and Living Sacrifice

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Memorial of Saint Boniface

Reading: 2 Pt 3:12-15a, 17-18; Gospel: Mk 12:13-17

‘Whether to pay or not to pay the tax?’ was the question put forth to Jesus. If He was against it, He would draw the enmity of the Roman authorities (with whom the Herodians were friendly). If He was for it, He would earn the dissatisfaction of the Jewish people, especially the Pharisees. Hence this was a perfect trap. It was an ‘yes or no’ question, and both answers would land Jesus in deep trouble. However Jesus, in His wisdom, foils their plan and provides a comprehensive answer: ‘Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God’ (Mk 12:17).

We need to pay attention to what Jesus did before giving this answer. He asked for a denarius and inquired about the image and inscription on it (as if He had never seen one). He drew the attention of the people to the fact that the coin belonged to Caesar as it had his image and inscription. As human beings we carry the image of God in ourselves, for He created us in His own image (Gen 1:27). It implies that when Jesus said ‘give to God what belongs to God,’ what He meant was that we need to offer ourselves to God.

Jesus would further implicate the same when He said ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind’ (Mt 22:37) and described it as the first and greatest commandment. What pleases God is not our material offerings. More than our efforts towards fasting and praying, what pleases God is to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice – holy and pleasing to God (Rom 12:1). This is what Peter emphasizes in the first reading calling us to make every effort ‘to be spotless and blameless’ (holy) before God (2 Pet 3:14). Created in God’s image, we need to be like Him for He Himself said: “Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy” (Lev 19:2).

Do you realise that you are created in the image of God? Are you convinced that you belong to Go

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