Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Justin, M. (01st June, 2021) on the Gospel and the Memorial


Tob 2:9-14;

Ps 111:1-2.7-9. (R. cf. v.7);

Mk 12:13-17.

Saint Justin was born in Nablus in Samaria at the beginning of the second century. A philosopher and on his conversion to the faith wrote in defence of religion. His only works now extant are his two Apologies and his Dialogue addressed to Trypho. He opened a school in Rome and took part in public disputations. He suffered a martyr’s death with his companions during the time of Marcus Aurelius, about the year 165.

Topic: The things that are Caesar’s.

Many people are involved in lots of syncretistic practices. Often they claim to be doing what Christ asks of us; “Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mk 12:17).

In today’s gospel we see what such people quote out of context. The chief priests, the scribes and the elders sent some of the Pharisees and some Herodians to trap Jesus. They said to Him,

Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and show difference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not? (Mk 12:14-15)

Their question was about paying taxes and never about syncretistic practices. The Lord through prophet Ezekiel describes the righteous in part as people who do not lift up their eyes to the idols, cf. Ezek 18:6.12.15. We remember that idols are the work of human hands, cf. Ps 115:4. And God does not approve of giving His glory to any other thing, cf. Is 42:8. Accordingly, whoever engages in idol worship provokes God and stirs Him to jealousy, cf. Deut 32:21. Hence, He warns us never to defile ourselves with idols, cf. Ezek 20:18.

We must be careful lest we lose our very selves in the bid of gaining the world. Such venture profits us nothing, cf. Mk 8:36; Lk 9:25.

Bible Reading: Ps 135:1-21.

Thought for today: God created us for His glory (cf. Is 43:7).

Let us pray: Lord, you created us for your glory. Help us to fulfil your divine plan in our lives – Amen.

Saint Justin – Pray for us.

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