Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional – Ninth Week in Ordinary Time – Tuesday – Mark 12:13-17
After thoroughly rebuking the Jewish priests, scribes and elders, two other opposing Jewish factions join forces to confront Jesus. The Pharisees were ultra-rigorous Jews who believed God would reward Israel if every just acted holy. The Herodians, the Roman’s choice to administer Roman rule, were Jewish elite who enjoyed riches and power by collaborating with the Romans. These opposing factions band together to seek to condemn Jesus.
Scheming, they seek to trap Jesus. First they attempt to flatter Christ; ironically, they speak the truth about Christ but don’t 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 sees through the hypocrisy and authoritatively directs the Herodians and Pharisees to bring Him a denarius, a Roman coin with Caesar’s image, idolatrously venerated by Romans as a 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.”
Awed by Jesus Christ – Jesus Christ, full of Divine Wisdom, knows the hearts of the attackers and masterfully eludes their attempted trap. masterful Orator, He outwits and humiliates some of Israel’s best thinkers, leaving them in awe. Tough and challenging, the Divine King directly rebukes His attackers for their attempts to trap Him.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Jesus is the greatest debater/orator who has ever lived, for He is the Son of God. Identify men or women that impress you as eloquent, witty or combative speakers and realize that Christ is infinitely superior.
2) The best and brightest of Israel try to argue with Christ but their foolishness is exposed and rebuked. Reflect on your own disagreements with Christ and His Church and commit to return to obedience.
3) Christ instructs men to “Render unto Caesar…and render unto God.” Consider a few ways in which you have compromised your faith for the world and vow to give your Almighty King His due.
Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers
Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries
Daily Devotion – The Guardian Angels
Virtue of the Day – Justice