2Pt 3:12-15a, 17,18; Ps 90:2-4,10,14,16; Mk 12:13-17
We plead with today’s psalm that the LORD will fill us at daybreak with his kindness that we might rejoice and be glad all day long. We have a stable and secure relationship with the LORD God Almighty the creator of heaven and earth; He is from everlasting to everlasting. Even though we are ashes and dust, as we are reminded at the beginning of every Lent, we have no fear of death because we are alive in God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. His love and kindness has grasped us by the mystery of grace and transformed us from death to life, eternal life. Though we have a limited and finite time on the earth, full of toil—fruitless toil, even though we may pass quickly and drift away, the LORD has claimed us as his own, and we are his children, his servants, and his beloved. We behold though eyes of faith his glory and his works for us; his love is everlasting. Because of the mystery of our Baptism into Christ we have a living hope to share in his divine life, here and now and for ages to come. This is the joy that his kindness brings to our hearts at each daybreak. With all who believe we are exhorted by Saint Peter to wait and hasten the coming of the Lord’s Day. When the Lord Jesus comes again in glory we will be ready to welcome Him because we have lived in amazement that He has rescued us and redeemed us in His Blood that we share at every Eucharist.
We are not blind. We live by faith. This faith enables us to be at peace even when the heavens dissolve in flames and the elements are melted by fire. We have no fear of the end of the world as we know it because according to his promise we await a new heavens and a new earth in which all righteousness dwells, within our hearts and within our community. Saint Peter exhorts us to be eager for holiness, to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace. It is the patience of our Lord Jesus that is our salvation. He forgives us seventy times seven times; there is no limit to his love. Such a severe mercy makes absolute demands upon us. We, too, must forgive our brothers and sisters as we have been forgiven. We are summoned to be on guard and not to be led into the error of every “new age” pseudo religion that attracts us. Indeed, we will not give into these temptations only if we grow in grace and in the knowledge of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. With all who wait in joyful hope for his coming, we cry out: “glory be to Him, now and to the day of eternity. Amen!”
Jesus is not blind to that which motivates those sent to catch him in his speech. His opponents the chief priests and scribes have sent emissaries to trap him in fear of the crowd and fear of the oppressors. Saint Mark sets up his audience to hear what Jesus hears in the hearts of his challengers. We are clued into their motivations when the gospel relates their flattery and high praise. “It is evident you do not act out of human respect but teach God’s way of life sincerely.” Yes, Jesus is not afraid of what the crowd thinks of him, nor is he afraid of what the leaders fear. These Pharisees and Herodians had bought into the power of Rome because it gave them power. They worshiped the false god of power by appeasing the power of the oppressor. They used the fear of Roman power to keep the crowds in control and to elicit financial gain and public respect from the masses. The danger for these leaders and for leaders and followers in every age is that we become what we worship. If we worship the ever-attractive idols of power and pride we become as false and powerless as what we worship. Christ the true God and King did not come to blind us and seduce us. Rather, he opens our eyes as he did for those who challenged him with their false question about paying taxes. Caesar and every earthly power deserve only so much. God and his heavenly reign deserve all we have to give. This is the truth we celebrate with Saint Boniface and all the angels and saints who stand here before the throne of God and of the Lamb. He came die so that we might live in the truth, and our amazement at him knows no bounds.