Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mk 12:13-17 Paying Up

Mk 12:13-17 Paying Up

(Click here for readings)

Pay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.

Doesn’t everything belong to God? Shouldn’t everything go to the Lord? Yes. All that is good, holy, right, and sacred belongs to the Lord for he created it. And all that is bad, evil, empty, wicked and disordered belongs Caesar.

The Jews, on various occasions and for various reasons, would offer up burnt offerings, a sacrifice, to God. The best offerings were to be given – the finest fruits of man’s labor and the finest animals from God’s generosity. If not, then the offerings were worthless. Jesus is telling us to give to Him what belongs to Him, the best. Give God what he truly deserves. When we hold back, we deny the Lord what is rightfully his.

What does the Lord ask from us? Love me above all things. Love me with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, mind and will. You can take the rest. Thank you.

Yes, I know; the “rest” is worthless, maybe even useless. So we rebel and complain against God’s rights. With our heads lifted up to heaven and our voices raised, we demand better treatment, equality and insist upon our so-called rights, the rights of man. We have seen it over and over again, throughout history, on the international level, national level and even at the hometown level.

Just recently an Iowa high school wrestler cited his Christian beliefs in forfeiting a match against a girl in a state tournament. The author of one article insisted that the issue really was another skirmish between religious tradition and modernity. I would think that it was more of an issue between modesty and modernity. But let us take up his argument and dissect it for a moment. Is it really modernity? Is wresting something modern? Of course not! Is man-handling a woman, touching her (groping her) wherever and justifying it by calling it a sporting event modern? Yes, most definitely.

This young man preferred his principles over a golden prize. There were many who congratulated him, including the young girl’s parents. They said they respected his decision, putting his principles over the chance to compete for the top prize in a state famed for churning out some of the best wrestlers in the country. I’m not sure about that, but it sounds like it definitely is turning or churning out some great young men. But as many congratulated him, so too many were disappointed. After all, we are a modern society.

And even this I doubt. I’m not sure we are even a modern society. Does a modern society mean less morals, values and principles and more disorders, dysfunctions, and diseases? If we held on to more religious traditions I know we would have less modern novelties, such as eating disorders.

Yesterday, the results of a large federal government study on eating disorders among teens were published. Conclusion: half million U.S. teens have eating disorders! We all know that eating disorders have little or nothing to do with how they see food. The problem is the way these teens see themselves and their bodies. Do they not know that there body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? That their bodies are sacred? Do parents not educate their children to see that no man should ever touch them? Not even in a sporting event?

Let us lift up our hearts to the Lord and shout for joy. Let us give thanks to the Lord for his infinite love, his enduring friendship, and his everlasting forgiveness. These are the so-called rights of man: to expect a God that loves, forgives and gives and, at the same time, demands the same from us too.

Maybe this is the way we will become modern: when we begin to respect God and neighbor.


  1. Father Alfonse,

    Great Meditation!

    My first thought after reading the Gospel this morning was "isn't it God's money"? Thank you for clarifying that for that me.

    The feminist in me would say "good job" to the young lady (you know I grew up in California climbing trees and beating up boys which by the way works well for a mother of so many boys.

    However, I can totally understand and respect the young mans decision. I would hope my boys would do the same.

    It is a confusing time for a woman. When is the line crossed? God has used woman all through out history to do very powerful and incredible things. Of course, the most incredible is the ability to bring carry and bring forth new life, but what about St. Joan of Arc, St. Genevieve?

    Woman have been under valued though-out the years. So unfortunately what ended up happening was an outrageous over-correction. For a woman to now believe that abortion is a right and okay, is just plain crazy. I once read that the first feminists believed that abortion was wrong because it was a violent and barbaric attack against a woman and child. They thought that abortion was a mans solution to an problem. Not that I follow that mindset. I don't think a baby is a "problem". And it is kind of hard for me to be one of the feminist of today while I am pregnant with my 9th child. :)

    I have struggled lately with who God has created me to be and with my role as a mother. After a lot of prayer and discernment, I finally have peace. I have my own mission from God. I am not a cookie-cutter mom and I was not made to be one. I know at this time, the most important thing to God is for me to "mother my children".

    So, with that direction from God that is what I will do. It is time to put myself aside and do the most important and wonderful job He has blessed me to do "mother my children".

    You are in my prayers!

    God Bless,

    Rose :)

  2. Excellent Meditation Father! We showed our boys the news coverage of the courageous boy from Iowa when it happened. What a great conversation we had after watching it, and how wonderful it was for our boys to recognize the Godly choice of the young wrestler. I am glad you brought his heroism to light. I will let them know that you mentioned it in your reflection!
    And you are so right about eating disorders. Girls undervalue themselves. Sadly, women do too. So many parents encourage their children to grow up too soon, and I don't think they even realize that they are doing it...encouraging having "boyfriends" and "girlfriends" from a very early age, dressing their daughters immodestly but "cute" according to society, allowing them to read Seventeen magazines or watch rated r movies before they are even 17 years old, etc, etc...girls are taught that how they look, and whether boys like them or not is very important, and the moral formation is just not there, so they are left empty inside. It is heartbreaking. Please, parents of girls(and of course, boys too), do what Fr. Alfonse has written in today's blog...children must know that they are beautiful, "hand-crafted by God", temples of the Holy Spirit, and they must know just how much God loves them, so that then they will love themselves because they are His creation...inside and out, regardless of what their peers or society tells them.
    As parents, we must also know this too. We must make sure we do not get caught up in choosing "modernity" over morality. One of the hardest parts for me, is knowing that I am a disappointment in the eyes of many that I grew up with and love, because I am too "old fashioned", "backward", "unworldly", "judgmental", "bigoted", etc, in their eyes because I have had to take a stand for Christ. It is not easy, not easy at all, but it brings such peace and a deeper relationship with my Lord. And I answer to Him before anyone else. And I am the first to admit, that it also is hard, because it is everywhere, this secularized, self-centered, unGodly way of living. Satan does a great job of making it all look "normal" and good. We constantly have to be aware. To go against the mainstream takes courage, knowledge, and the strength that can only come from our Lord.
    Lent is a perfect time to give up some of these ways of "loving", thinking and doing as the world would deem good, popular, even advanced(I have much to pray about tonight!) But, how blessed we are to have the Sacraments to help turn us around, to aid us in this fight, to free us from our sins, to nourish our hearts and souls so we can live as God created us to be! We have the Church that Christ founded! He is our guide, so we can choose to live a life that points to God in all we do, thus modeling for our children a healthy relationship with our Lord.
    Thank you for being a shining example for all of us, and for leading so many in the fight for what is Godly and truly good!!! You are in our prayers.
    God bless!


Updated: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. Comments must be concise and to the point.Comments are no longer accepted for posts older than 7 days.