Today’s gospel begins with Jesus telling his disciples that he will be betrayed and killed before he is raised. We are invited into the life of being a disciple, following Jesus, living his message even in the difficulties, and receiving new life.
Into the middle of Jesus’ message comes a question about taxes from Rome. It’s a part of real life for Jesus just as it is for us. But rather than get on the tax, Jesus quickly dispenses with it and provides the coin to pay the tax so he can get back to his work. Yes, it’s important and part of real life, but it’s not the focus.
Our lives are complicated, filled with distractions, hopes, joys, pain and discouragement. Jesus isn’t asking us to ignore these or pretend they don’t exist. But in the midst of our real and everyday lives, Jesus invites us to ignore the clamor of the anything that take us away from him, that prevent us from deepening our relationship with him.
Do I worry too much about my own success, my image or how I appear? Do I find myself distracted by anger, the inability to forgive and grudges? Are the fears in my life so many that I become self-focussed? Can even my pain and confusion over things within my own church keep me from turning to Jesus?
We aren’t being asked to bury our heads in a book but to re-focus, to lift our heads and concentrate long and deeply at only one thing: Jesus as he stands with us, gazing at us with unimaginable love.
By M. Waldron