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Monday, April 1, 2013

Mark 12

Parables can be profound and also a little slippery. The religious leaders knew Jesus was talking about them in light of the evil tenant. But does that mean God is absent, the absentee landlord? And only sends others to collect his dues? One has to be careful to not read too far into a parable. But one should still explore the story for meaning. I think we will find that we are left to our own with things that we know. God does not need to micromanage our lives. But we have to respect Him and pay dues when he comes to collect or what was ours (religion, theology, culture) will be taken away. The religious leaders ultimately lost out and Jesus teachings come to replace them. It did not have to go down that way if they were to respond to God with openness, not with evil desires.

And yet they still tried to catch Jesus in another trap. Taxes are a “this world” thing that have no bearing on God or things of God. Keep them separate and pay to the world what you must but keep your eyes on the things of God which this world cannot understand. God is the God of the living and death has no place there. So theological maneuvering which does not understand the true nature of God and the Kingdom of Heaven cannot stand as truth only as tricks of the mind to be misunderstood.

Again Jesus calls out the religious leaders for their failure to understand. For a true understanding of God can only come from love, a love that extends to our neighbors. You cannot say you love God and then treat others as the religious leaders do. Love of God is love towards your neighbor. Love gives to God and to others; it does not take like the religious leaders have been known to do. Love is to give, even the last cent if it comes from the heart. Giving from love knows no bounds in action. Falling back on the law or tradition as a scapegoat in false behavior undermines God’s true religion which is based in love and an open heart towards others. And this truth is the heart of Jesus’ teachings and life. A truth for which he must die, a truth the disciples are still trying to grasp. Even today.

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