When we speak what are our motives, in today’s Gospel we see the Pharisees at it again! Trying to trap Jesus with clever words. They say
‘Master, we know that you are an honest man and teach the way of God in an honest way, and that you are not afraid of anyone, because a man’s rank means nothing to you. Tell us your opinion, then. Is it permissible to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’
What are they doing? Well firstly they are flattering him in order to inflate his ego and hopefully lull him into saying something rash, something that they could use against him. Of course Jesus knows this and his answer is the perfect answer
‘You hypocrites! Why do you set this trap for me? Let me see the money you pay the tax with.’ They handed him a denarius, and he said, ‘Whose head is this? Whose name?’ ‘Caesar’s’ they replied. He then said to them, ‘Very well, give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God.’
Again Jesus’ teaching is infallible, we would do well to think deeply on his answer, and it certainly confounded the Pharisees! Who just walked away flabbergasted.
This Gospel made me think of how deceitful and two faced we are inclined to be, how often do we say something coated in honey which is filled with poison and malice. Or we just lash out and say something in anger, and that tidal wave of negativity and evil escaping from our mouth just grows and grows. Of course we regret it later but then why did we say it in the first place… only to be hurtful. Wouldn’t it be better to just take a deep breath say a quick prayer for strength and guidance and say nothing?
The ‘Tongue’ is the most dangerous organ in the body, an unguarded tongue can wreak havoc. The reason we have teeth, is that when we clamp our teeth together they guard the tongue against cursing, gossiping, spreading rumours, and from saying nasty hurtful things about our friends and neighbours. If our eyes are the windows to our souls then surely our tongues are the mouthpiece of our souls. So let’s try very hard to guard our tongues, lest they make our souls only fit for hell.