“They were utterly amazed at him.”

The reading for today (Mk 12:13-17)  may well be the Jewish leaders’ response to being cast in a bad light by Jesus in yesterday’s vineyard parable.  Some Pharisees (who were against Roman domination) and Herodians (who were sympathetic to Roman governance) were sent together to trap Jesus.  They attempt to flatter Him and then ask Him whether it is within Jewish law to pay Roman taxes.  Jesus calls out their hypocrisy and then utters the famous line, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God” (v. 17).  Their response is found at top.  No doubt the questioners’ amazement was sincere, a begrudging acknowledgment of Jesus’ clever way of avoiding their snare (He avoids charges of treason while remaining credible with Jews).   Unlike these men, our amazement at Jesus should know no bounds.  It is easy to fall into the trap of “being used to” Jesus.  Yes, He worked miracles, yes He taught well, yes He suffered, died, and rose for our salvation.  Let us not take for granted even the smallest aspect of Jesus’ mission but let His life and teaching be that upon which we “meditate[] day and night” (Ps 1:2), especially as it relates to how we act in this life and what we hope for in the next.  Let us recapture the joy and amazement of little children (Mt 18:3): as they are so awestruck by the wonders of the world may we become and remain awestruck by Jesus working in us and in others.

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