Sunday, December 15, 2019

Tuesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time – Scripture Reading for the Day

Tuesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time – Scripture Reading for the Day

Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 354

1st Reading – TB 2:9-14

On the night of Pentecost, after I had buried the dead,
I, Tobit, went into my courtyard
to sleep next to the courtyard wall.
My face was uncovered because of the heat.
I did not know there were birds perched on the wall above me,
till their warm droppings settled in my eyes, causing cataracts.
I went to see some doctors for a cure
but the more they anointed my eyes with various salves,
the worse the cataracts became,
until I could see no more.
For four years I was deprived of eyesight, and
all my kinsmen were grieved at my condition.
Ahiqar, however, took care of me for two years,
until he left for Elymais.

At that time, my wife Anna worked for hire
at weaving cloth, the kind of work women do.
When she sent back the goods to their owners, they would pay her.
Late in winter on the seventh of Dystrus,
she finished the cloth and sent it back to the owners.
They paid her the full salary
and also gave her a young goat for the table.
On entering my house the goat began to bleat.

I called to my wife and said: “Where did this goat come from?
Perhaps it was stolen! Give it back to its owners;
we have no right to eat stolen food!”
She said to me, “It was given to me as a bonus over and above my wages.”
Yet I would not believe her,
and told her to give it back to its owners.
I became very angry with her over this.
So she retorted: “Where are your charitable deeds now?
Where are your virtuous acts?
See! Your true character is finally showing itself!”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 112:1-2, 7-8, 9

R. (see 7c) The heart of the just one is firm, trusting in the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R. The heart of the just one is firm, trusting in the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
An evil report he shall not fear;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear
till he looks down upon his foes.
R. The heart of the just one is firm, trusting in the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Lavishly he gives to the poor;
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R. The heart of the just one is firm, trusting in the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – SEE EPH 1:17-18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope
that belongs to his call.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 12:13-17

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.

Catholic Daily Reflections

Navigating the Snares of Life 

“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.” Mark 12:14a

This statement was made by some of the Pharisees and Herodians who were sent to “ensnare” Jesus in His speech. They act in a sneaky and cunning way to draw Jesus in. They are trying to get Him to speak in opposition to Caesar so that they can get Him in trouble with the Roman authorities. But interestingly, what they say of Jesus is quite true and is a great virtue.

They say two things that highlight Jesus’ virtues of humility and sincerity:

1) “You are not concerned with anyone’s opinion;”
2) “You do not regard a person’s status.”

Of course they went on to then try and trick Him into breaking Roman law. Jesus does not fall for their trick and does outsmart them in the end.

However, these virtues are good for us to reflect upon because we should strive to have them alive in our own lives. First, we should not be concerned with others’ opinions. But this must be properly understood. Sure, it’s important to listen to others and to consult them and to be open minded. Other people’s insights can be crucial to making good decisions in life. But what we should avoid is the danger of allowing others to dictate our actions out of fear. Sometimes the “opinions” of others are negative and wrong. We can all experience peer pressure in various ways. Jesus never gave in to the false opinions of others nor did He allow the pressure of those opinions to change how He acted.

Secondly, they point out that Jesus does not allow the “status” of another to influence Him. Again, this is a virtue. What we have to know is that all people are equal in the mind of God. A position of power or influence does not necessarily make one person more correct than another. What’s important is the sincerity, integrity and truthfulness of each person. Jesus exercised this virtue perfectly.

Reflect, today, upon whether these words could also be said about you. Strive to learn from the statement of these Pharisees and Herodians; strive to live a life of integrity and humility. If you do so, you will also be given a share in the wisdom of Jesus so as to navigate the most difficult snares of life.

Lord, I do want to be a person of honesty and integrity. I want to listen to the good advice of others but not be influenced by the errors or pressures that may also come my way. Help me to always seek You and Your truth in all things. Jesus, I trust in You.

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