Tuesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time, June 1
As We Continue Our Walk of Faith Each Day, We Rightfully Belong, Not to Ourselves, But to the God Who Created Us and Redeemed Us Out of Divine Love.
Which one of us can absolutely say that we have never lost our patience, have never been uncharitable to those we love, especially when we are not feeling at our best, or when the cross we bear begins to wear us down?
“Where are your charitable deeds now? Where are your virtuous acts? See! Your true character is finally showing itself!” – words which Anna, Tobit’s wife, angrily responded to her husband due to his rather hurtful and uncharitable remarks.
In Anna’s response in our First Reading, she provides a moral lesson to each one of us in today’s story, as she points out that charitable deeds and virtuous acts begin at home.
In Tobit’s depression over losing his sight, his wife – someone whom he loves – became the “scapegoat” for his own emotional pain. He forgot how to live what God asks from each one of us – a life filled with love, mercy, compassion and understanding for others – especially for those we love and hold dear.
In the Reading for Monday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time, we find Tobit to be a very righteous individual, filled with the fear of God – a life filled with the love, respect and adoration which he knew was due to the God of his ancestors – for he lived his life of faith by showing charity and compassion toward others.
And yet, today, he comes up short. In not showing the understanding and charity which was due to even his own wife, he withheld the love which was rightly due to God.
And what do we hear our Lord telling us in today’s Gospel? “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God” (emphasis mine).
And what is it that we should be giving to God. Jesus taught us this lesson Himself, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” And then He went on to say, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
When I was a child, I remember being taught from the old Baltimore Catechism, “To gain the happiness of Heaven we must know, love, and serve God in this world.” – for this was the essential purpose of man’s existence, to live eternally in God’s Love.
And isn’t Heaven that ultimate goal for which each one of us strives? And do we not consider the gift of eternal happiness to be the greatest of all gifts which God offers to each one of us?
And yet, in all sadness, there are so many people who prefer to focus on the gifts which today’s secularism offers. There are so many good people who end up succumbing to the seductions which the many different cultures of this world today provides.
All we need to do is read the newspapers or listen to the news headlines on TV and witness the sadness which envelops so many peoples’ lives through violence, greed and sexual perversity. The temporal satisfaction which one derives from a perverse fulfillment of the senses is but a hollow victory, for there is no real and lasting happiness or peace.
Even in today’s Gospel, in responding to the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the Herodians, our Lord tells us to respond to our necessary obligations with our governing institutions, but that we must also balance these obligations with our reverence and devotion to God.
And the key word here is “balance”. When we live our lives which are secularly oriented and void of God’s Presence in our hearts, our lives become but a hollow shell. For no matter how much we might believe otherwise, there is no sense of an enduring peace and tranquility; there is no sense of a true joy residing within us.
It is only when we render “…to God what belongs to God”, as we hear our Lord saying to each of us today, will we truly begin to enjoy that serenity and tranquility of heart, mind and soul for which each one of us so deeply yearns.
Even in our Responsorial Psalm today, our psalmist gives words of praise to God when he sings, “Blessed the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commands.”
This type of delight in our relationship with God, however, does require a commitment on our part. It does require a kenosis – a self-emptying from ourselves of our own pride, our own ego, and our own selfishness – so that we may take upon our human nature the virtues of life which our Lord taught were so important for our personal salvation: humility, charity, obedience and a selfless giving of our love for the needs of others.
Giving “to God what belongs to God” even entails our stewardship of God’s gifts to us: gifts of time, talent and treasure. God expects us to give back to the Body of Christ that which rightfully belongs to God from the beginning, for stewardship implies that we are caretakers, managers of those gifts which He has entrusted to us.
To be open to God, we must first realize that we have been stamped with God’s image, since we are created in His own likeness, just as a coin is stamped with the image of our government.
As we give back to our government that which is theirs, so, too, do we rightfully belong, not to ourselves, but to the God who created us and redeemed us out of Divine Love. And it is only fitting that we should freely give back to our Creator that which is His – our hearts and our souls, through our personal acts of faith, hope and love.
For it is in this “giving back to God” wherein we find our true vocation in life, our true purpose in being called children of God.
For God will always be our true Father, and Heaven will always be our true Home. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “So Jesus said to them, ‘Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.’” (Mark 12:17ab)
- “Jesus replied…‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.’” (Mark 12:29a, 30-31)
- “Happy are those who fear the LORD, who greatly delight in God’s commands.” (Psalm 112:1bc)
- “God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
- “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20a)
- “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom all things are and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are and through whom we exist.” (1 Corinthians 8:6)
- “I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)
- “Pay to all their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, toll to whom toll is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due. Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another.” (Romans 13:7-8a)
- “But as it is written: ‘What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him.’” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
Prayer for the Day
“Lord Jesus, our Savior,Saint Augustine
let us now come to You:
Our hearts are cold;
Lord, warm them with Your selfless Love.
“Our hearts are sinful;
cleanse them with Your Precious Blood.
Our hearts are weak;
strengthen them with Your joyous Spirit.
“Our hearts are empty;
fill them with Your Divine Presence.
Lord Jesus, our hearts are Yours;
possess them always and only for Yourself.”