Monday, June 4, 2012

Memorial of Saint Boniface, Bishop and Martyr

At that time, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders sent some Pharisees and Herodians 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.

Introductory Prayer:Why am I here, Lord? Why am I seeking to spend time with you? Is it not you who have first called and chosen me? I place myself in your presence to ponder your greatness and perceive my own nothingness. I come to allow you to lift me up and to have you exhort me to let go of all that which is not true in my life, all that only weighs me down and slows my progress on my journey to you. I come to learn to live the truth in love, through love and because of love. Please help me to make this short moment fruitful by giving myself completely to this prayer.

Petition:Lord, may I live in truth.

1. To Know, Perchance to Live, There’s the Rub! It is one thing for us to know the truth of our lives and what is right and good, and quite another thing to live out that truth. Interestingly enough, the Pharisees and Herodians in this passage initiate their encounter with Jesus offering a beautiful discourse on what it means to live in the truth. They characterize Jesus, the Teacher, as one who is a “truthful man,” who is not concerned with anyone’s opinion, who does not regard a person’s status, and who teaches “the way of God in accordance with the truth.” They know what truth is all about and they know what it is to live the truth and yet, Mark tells us in the next verse that Jesus knew their hypocrisy. Obviously knowing and living the truth are two very different things.

2. Teaching the Truth. Jesus Christ handles the situation marvelously. With great calm he first uncovers their twisted intentions: “Why are you testing me?”

After this he helps them to see that they themselves are not living the truth; he leads them, and all those who listen, to get to the truth of the issue at hand. Taking a coin he teaches them the importance of honesty, duty, and perhaps what we could term “piety,” to give to God what belongs to God: our love. Truth Himself is teaching the truth.

3. The Lived Truth-Detector. In our own lives we can know the truth and not act in accordance with it. This is the experience of every Christian. Yet, God has given every person a conscience, that “most secret core, and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths” as the Second Vatican Counsel declares (Gaudium et Spes 16). The practice of the exam of conscience, then, is a privileged time, a time alone with God. It sounds like something very desirable and yet how inconstant we can be in carrying it out. In the exam of conscience, God, in his love and mercy, shares with us the truth of our lives. It is not an accusation so much as a manifestation of his love for us and his desire that we live in the truth, happiness and love. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Conscience enables one to assume responsibility for the acts performed. If man commits evil, the just judgment of conscience can remain within him as the witness to the universal truth of the good, at the same time as the evil of his particular choice” (1781). Let us allow Christ to love us, to instruct us in well-lived exam of conscience.

Dialogue with Christ: Jesus Christ, you are the way, the truth and the life. I want to live in your truth. Help me to listen to you with a fresh interior awareness so as to hear you speaking to my soul without the noise of words. Help me to see myself as you see me and to make my life conform completely to your truth. This is not always easy because my human nature sometimes resists. Please grant me the grace of courageously seeking the truth in my life.

Resolution: I will make a very special effort in my exam of conscience today.

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