Tobit 2:9-14

9 On the same night I returned from burying him, and because I was defiled I slept by the wall of the courtyard, and my face was uncovered.10 I did not know that there were sparrows on the wall and their fresh droppings fell into my open eyes and white films formed on my eyes. I went to physicians, but they did not help me. Ahikar, however, took care of me until he went to Elymais.
11 Then my wife Anna earned money at women’s work.12 She used to send the product to the owners. Once when they paid her wages, they also gave her a kid;
13 and when she returned to me it began to bleat. So I said to her, “Where did you get the kid? It is not stolen, is it? Return it to the owners; for it is not right to eat what is stolen.”
14 And she said, “It was given to me as a gift in addition to my wages.” But I did not believe her, and told her to return it to the owners; and I blushed for her. Then she replied to me, “Where are your charities and your righteous deeds? You seem to know everything!”

Mark 12:13-17

13 And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodi-ans, to entrap him in his talk.14 And they came and said to him,” Teacher, we know that you are true, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?15 Should we pay them, or should we not?” But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a coin, and let me look at it.”
16 And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesars.”
17 Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesars, and to God the things that are Gods.” And they were amazed at him.  


THE FIRST READING: Tobit describe his disposition whereby his eyesight was compromised with possible cataracts, however he did not allow this affliction to limit his cognitive ability to reason and observe his surroundings. To this extent, he questioned his wife’s acquisition  of a baby sheep or goat. His wife responded that the kid was a gift over and above the payment she earned for an honest days work she delivered.

THE GOSPEL READING refers to two sects of Judaism who dislike the Roman regime that is lording over the people of Israel.Our Lord is presented with an uncharitable question to trick Him. The questioners intent to use our Lords answer as ‘character’ evidence against Him to convict Him of a crime.
This readings of today seeks to alert each one of us who strive to be righteous to not stray from our journey to be also honest, ethical individuals with a moral sense to discern between that which is: good, charitable, right,wrong or evil. When family members or friends suddenly arrive with “gifts,” be it monetary; material goods or propositions that have the appearance of mischievous, inducement or bribery, we should be charitable and ask questions that arise from our subconsciousness to seek truth! 

To be sure, if we are in the habit of gleefully receiving gifts without question, it may be a sign that our consciousness has been darkened over time to the extent that we have lost the moral high ground.The Church teaches: Catec 1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.

We cannot use our lack of education;  dopiness or vincible ignorance to justify our actions. Individuals and business entities use many forms of enticements and inducements to increase sales with all sorts of “sponsorship” and “prize” offerings that may be another subtle or covert way of entrapping those who sign the contracts to personally benefit with excursions, food and drink that appear to have the ingredients and smell of inducements and bribery! We need to raise our awareness and become knowledgeable to ask the appropriate questions of discernment to ensure we remain on the right side of the law of morality.

LET US PRAY: Psalms 112:1-2,7-9

1 Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments! 2 His descendants will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.

7 He is not afraid of evil tidings; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
8 His heart is steady, he will not be afraid, until he sees his desire on his adversaries. 9 He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever; his horn is exalted in honor.

Author. Henry R SYLVESTER Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days.

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