Show me the money – 9th week in Ordinary time- Tuesday- Mark 12:13-17

Lather and shave, that’s what the late Fr Larry Pereira, my former parish priest, often called the method employed by some to obscure the knives drawn out before the kill. Disarm the victim with flummery and when the unsuspecting victim finds comfort in the barber’s chair, pull out the razor.

Flummery, the Jewish authorities did apply, albeit futilely with Jesus. If Jesus did not fall for the wily ways of satan’s temptatious offers, He most certainly would not fall for the puffery of the Pharisees and Herodians. So when they approached Him, heaping ‘certificates of character’ like ‘you are a sincere man’ ‘you show no deference to any one’ ‘you teach the way of God in accordance with truth’, it has no effect on the Lord.

Jesus confronts their hypocrisy. “Why” he asks them, “are you putting me to the test?” They thought they had an ingenious plan; butter Him up like a croissant before posing a seemingly unanswerable query. But tried their luck and failed, they did!

Politics makes strange bed fellows. The Herodians could barely stand the Pharisees. The former were politicians aligned to King Herod and by extension to the hated Romans; the latter were religious lawmakers. Independently, they had knives drawn at each other’s throats. Together they struck a deal to lock Jesus in the horns of a dilemma. Should Jesus consent to paying the hated Poll tax?

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