Tricking Jesus

October 22, 2017

Did you ever feel the need to trick or deceive someone?  As a child, this sometimes happened in conversations with my parents.  While I thought I was clever and I was getting away with something, it never seemed to work out.  When asked about a grade on a test, I chose to use the comparison game.  When I had to have a paper signed because it was a low score, I would try to make it better by saying the whole class was not prepared.  I told my parents that everyone in the class had to get them signed.  I tried to make sure my tarnished halo was not taken from me.  In these situations I tried to trick my parents to make myself look better.

In today’s Gospel they are trying to trick Jesus and are trying to entrap him.  They believe they are so clever.  They have a scenario that they think will get Him into trouble.  We try to do the same thing.  Sometimes we try to make ourselves holier in appearance.  Sometimes we try to make light of our sins.  We sometimes use rationalization, but all we are doing is tricking others and cheating our own spiritual life.  In reality the only one we are tricking is our self.  It is easy to do that.  We fool ourselves that we will not be caught, so we speed when a police patrol is not around.  We deceive ourselves by not going to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  We decide that God has already forgiven us, so why confess?  We fail to see the grace that is being offered.  Sometimes we think we can come to church when it is convenient and miss when it is not.  Sometimes our definition changes as to what it means to be a good Catholic, depending upon our current situation. In doing so, we are tricking ourselves.  At the same time, we are tricking Jesus by saying we know what is best. We are saying that we have it covered and we’ve decided the history of the Church and the apostolic tradition just isn’t for us.

In the Gospel Jesus proclaims, render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but to God what is God’s.  What is God’s?  God offered grace to help us on our way.  We trick Jesus when we say we have enough grace, so we no longer need to attend the celebration of Sacraments.

We can’t trick Jesus.  We only fool ourselves.

Reverend John J. Ouper