First Reading: Tb 2:9-14; Psalm: 112. R. v. 7c; Gospel: Mk 12:13-17
BEWARE OF FLATTERERS
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
“Teacher, we know that you are true, and care for no man, but truly teach the way of God.” (Mk 12:13).
Could the above words have come from the mouth of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians? These were the same people who opposed the teachings of Jesus and encouraged others to do the same. How come they suddenly agreed that the teachings of Jesus were true and that they came from God? When flattery suddenly comes from the mouth of a person who antagonises or always disagrees with us, we should be wary of what follows after. These men wanted to create an enabling ground to entrap Jesus; and so they started with flattery.
They asked Jesus thereafter, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” They supposed that by aligning with Jesus he would oppose the payment of census tax to Caesar so they could report him to the civil authorities. They really did not care about Jesus. But Jesus saw their trap and gave them an answer that was neither yes nor no. Jesus’ answer neither showed support for the tax payment nor opposed it. This deflated whatever plans they had against Jesus.
Just like the Pharisees, there are some people who praise and flatter us not because they mean what they say but because they are after something that would give them some advantage over us. We may not have the divine wisdom to disarm them just as Jesus did; but we can learn from Jesus not to be quick to play to the side of people who suddenly begin to like or flatter us. Wise men would say, always be slow to speak or act amidst uncertainties. When certain situations are strange or unclear to us; we can pause for a while, introspect, and then act wisely. Falling to the impulse of flattery can be very detrimental.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus Christ, save us from the plans of our enemies and grant us the wisdom and strength to overcome them. Amen