"Whose likeness...is this?" —Mark 12:16, RSV-CE
We are like coins. The image of God is stamped on us at Baptism. We were sealed with the Holy Spirit at Confirmation. The image and seal proves to the world that God owns us.
Like cattle branded with the mark of their owner, people who saw the Roman coin could tell whose image was on it, and to whom it ultimately belonged. The Roman coin was stamped with Caesar's image. Therefore, Jesus said it ultimately belonged to Caesar and should be given to Him. By implication, Jesus says that we who are stamped with the image and likeness of God (Gn 1:27) must give to God what belongs to Him, our lives (Mk 12:17; 1 Cor 6:19-20). We must reflect God's image to the world and enhance His image by the quality of our lives offered for Him.
Coins are circulated throughout the world by normal human activity. Likewise, we who are stamped with God's image are to be in circulation by going out into the world (Mt 28:19) to be salt and light for Jesus (Mt 5:13, 14). Have we been so worn down that God's image is no longer visible to a world that unknowingly longs for Him? Or will we be in "mint condition" for the Lord so that all can see His glory shining in our lives?
Prayer: Jesus, You are my Wealth (Phil 3:8). I spend my entire life in Your service. May all who see me praise You (Mt 5:16).
Promise: "What we await are new heavens and a new earth where, according to His promise, the justice of God will reside." —2 Pt 3:13
Praise: St. Justin, the first Christian apologist of whom we have writings, took on the likeness of Christ by giving his life for love of the Father.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
(Restore the joy that came when you were stamped and sealed for the Lord. The retreat Celebrate the Sacraments with Joy is July 9th and 10th at our Discipleship Center. Call 513-373-2397 for information.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 29, 2009
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