“Why are you putting me to the test?”
Tuesday, 02 June 2020
2 Peter 3:12–15a, 17–18; Psalm 90:2–4, 10, 14, 16; Mark 12:13–17.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus says ‘Why are you putting me to the test?’. He then goes onto solve a problem the Jews faced with regards to how they should pay a poll tax. Doing so would mean co-operating with the Roman Empire but betraying their Jewish religion. Of course it was a trick to trap him, but Jesus finds a middle way when he declares “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and give to God the things that are God’s.”
In our current day, we too should not put the Lord to the test. Appeals to return to Church and receive communion, despite the public health risks are in someway, I believe, putting God to the test. Underlying this motivation is an erroneous understanding of the Eucharist that it will somehow save or make immune those who ‘faithfully’ attend. Rather, I think, we need to see how Jesus’ response to the secular world and the religious, charted a way through.
In our time we should respect with utmost care the public authorities who act to save lives. And we should give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. But we should also give to God what belongs to God. All things belong to him, of course, for he gave us everything. But if we see our lives as gifts from God, then respecting that gift and keeping it safe will be honouring both the laws decreed by our authorities, and the gift God gave us. Then the closing words of our first reading will make sense to us: “we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.”