Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Show Me the Money!

 Have you ever read a reflection on a reading and found that it was written so beautifully that you just wanted to save it forever? I found that today over at NunBlog.

- H/T  NunBlog - (edited, ever so slightly, by me)
Had all day to reflect on that very much quoted line from today's Gospel: Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's
How do we give to God what is God's?
Sr Helena last year hit on a profound "hint".  When Jesus is first asked the question about paying taxes, he holds out his hand and says, "Show me the money." They give him the prescribed coin (the denarius), and Jesus shows it to them. On it is the profile of an emperor. "Whose image?" Jesus asks.
Whose image, indeed.
Give to God what is God's: God's image in us. But the image was tarnished; Jesus was there to restore that image.
To "give to God what is God's" means we have to accept the transformation Jesus offers. That means change.
And Pope Benedict reminds us (quoting von Hildebrand):
"Unreserved readiness to change is the indispensable prerequisite for the reception of Christ into our soul. "
Here is the reading from June 1, 2010 -
Some Pharisees and Herodians were sent
to Jesus to ensnare him in his speech.
They came and said to him,
“Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man
and that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion.
You do not regard a person’s status
but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?
Should we pay or should we not pay?”
Knowing their hypocrisy he said to them,
“Why are you testing me?
Bring me a denarius to look at.”
They brought one to him and he said to them,
“Whose image and inscription is this?”
They replied to him, “Caesar’s.”
So Jesus said to them,
“Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God.”
They were utterly amazed at him.

This story is also mentioned in Matthew 22:17-21.

Curious about the denarius?  Yeah. Me, too!
The denarius was a Roman silver coin. The denarius was about the size of a present-day U.S. or Canadian dime.
Roman Coins The denarius was the most common Roman coin during the human lifetime of Jesus Christ. Amounting to a day's pay for workers and Roman troops, it's mentioned more often than any other coin.
The word "denarius" is derived from the Latin dēnī "ten times", as its value was 10 asses; it may also be the origin of the word Dinar.
And . . . . . .  FYI, "asses" in this case does not mean "donkeys".  The as (plural asses) was a bronze, and later copper coin. It was used during the Roman Republic and Roman Empire.
Just a bit more to close this reflection . . . .

From the Apostle Paul in Romans 12:1-2
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.
1 [12:1-13:14] Since Christ marks the termination of the Mosaic law as the primary source of guidance for God's people (Romans 10:4), the apostle explains how Christians can function, in the light of the gift of justification through faith, in their relation to one another and the state. 2 [1-8] The Mosaic code included elaborate directions on sacrifices and other cultic observances. The gospel, however, invites believers to present their bodies as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). Instead of being limited by specific legal maxims, Christians are liberated for the exercise of good judgment as they are confronted with the many and varied decisions required in the course of daily life.  To assist them, God distributes a variety of gifts to the fellowship of believers, including those of  Prophets assist the community to understand the will of God as it applies to the present situation (Romans 12:6). Teachers help people to understand themselves and their responsibilities in relation to others (Romans 12:7). One who exhorts offers encouragement to the community to exercise their faith in the performance of all that is pleasing to God (Romans 12:8). Indeed, this very section, beginning with Romans 12:1, is a specimen of Paul's own style of exhortation.  

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Great meditations this morning, Peggy! :) You always ask the same questions I do! Now I know more about the denarius, thanks to you!

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