Tuesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
(Tobit 2:9-14; Mark 12:13-17)
Marital love is strong and productive, at least ideally. The couple desires one another so much that they want to have children. Then each will delight in seeing the image of the other shaped in their offspring. Today’s gospel makes a kindred use of image as Jesus confronts his defamers.
It sounds like the Pharisees and Herodians have taken cues from Eddie Haskell, the sweet-talking trouble-maker in the old television series Leave It to Beaver. They think that their saccharine compliments are setting Jesus up to undermine in own reputation. Knowing the human heart, Jesus quickly ascertains what they are trying to do and easily turns back their challenge. In asking whose image is on the coin, Jesus is making a comparison with the one whose image is found in humans. Because a coin bears Caesar’s images, he says that it may be properly given to Caesar. But because men and women bear God’s image (cf., Genesis 1:26), he would have them give themselves over to God.
Christians bear a double resemblance to God. Like all human beings, we have reason and free will like God. Even more profoundly, baptized in Christ, we bear his grace. Being doubly blessed, we have all the more reason to be thankful to God. We express our gratitude by caring for one another as Jesus commanded.