He was born in Xanten, Germany. After a period of worldly life, at the age of 35 he had a narrow escape from death and his life changed. He became a priest. He founded a religious Order after the rule of St. Augustine. He died in 1134.
Entrance Antiphon: Cf. Ps 24: 16, 18
Turn to me and have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am alone and poor. See my lowliness and suffering and take away all my sins, my God.
O God, whose providence never fails in its design, keep from us, we humbly beseech you, all that might harm us and grant all that works for our good. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
First reading: Tobit 2: 9-14
I, Tobit, took a bath; then I went into the courtyard and lay down by the courtyard wall. Since it was hot, I left my face uncovered. I did not know that there were sparrows in the wall above my head; their hot droppings fell into my eyes. White spots then formed, which I was obliged to have treated by the doctors. But the more ointments they tried me with, the more the spots blinded me, and in the end I became blind altogether. I remained without sight four years; all my brothers were distressed; and Ahikar provided for my upkeep for two years, till he left for Elymais. My wife Anna then undertook woman’s work; she would spin wool and take cloth to weave; she used to deliver whatever had been ordered from her and then receive payment. Now on March the seventh she finished a piece of work and delivered it to her customers. They paid her all that was due, and into the bargain presented her with a kid for a meal. When the kid came into my house, it began to bleat. I called to my wife and said, “Where does this creature come from? Suppose it has been stolen! Quick, let the owners have it back; we have no right to eat stolen goods.” She said, “No, it was a present given me over and above my wages.” I did not believe her, and told her to give it back to the owners (I blushed at this in her presence). Then she answered, “What about your own alms? What about your own good works? Everyone knows what return you have had for them.”
R/ With a firm heart he trusts in the Lord.
Happy the man who fears the Lord, who takes delight in all his commands. His sons will be powerful on earth; the children of the upright are blessed.
He has no fear of evil news; with a firm heart he trusts in the Lord. With a steadfast heart he will not fear; he will see the downfall of his foes.
Open-handed, he gives to the poor; his justice stands firm for ever. His head will be raised in glory.
Gospel Acclamation: Heb 4: 12
Alleluia, alleluia! The word of God is something alive and active: it can judge secret emotions and thoughts. Alleluia!
Gospel: Mark 12: 13-17
The chief priests and the scribes and the elders sent to Jesus some Pharisees and some Herodians to catch him out in what he said. These came and said to him, “Master, we know you are an honest man, that you are not afraid of anyone, because a man’s rank means nothing to you, and that you teach the way of God in all honesty. Is it permissible to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay, yes or no?” Seeing through their hypocrisy he said to them, “Why do you set this trap for me? Hand me a denarius and let me see it.” They handed him one and he said, “Whose head is this? Whose name?” “Caesar’s”, they told him. Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God.” This reply took them completely by surprise.
Prayer over the Offerings
Trusting in your compassion, O Lord, we come eagerly with our offerings to your sacred altar, that, through the purifying action of your grace, we may be cleansed by the very mysteries we serve. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Cf. Ps 16: 6
To you I call, for you will surely heed me, O God; turn your ear to me; hear my words.
Prayer after Communion
Govern by your Spirit, we pray, O Lord, those you feed with the Body and Blood of your Son, that, professing you not just in word or in speech, but also in works and in truth, we may merit to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Through Christ our Lord.
In addition to indirect taxes, all those subject to the Roman dictatorship had to pay a personal tax called the tribute, and only children and the elderly were exempted. This tribute was hated by all, especially by the resistance fighters (Zealots) who forced people to refuse it, because it was a sign of subjection to the Roman occupier. Suddenly, Jesus comes to oppose this trap with a truth that is imposed on all. We have to understand that the limits of life here on earth must not in any way affect our hope which must remain great. May the Lord give us the knowledge to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to seek constantly to render to God what is God’s. For as St. Augustine tells us: “Let your country be more important to you than your parents! Do not listen to them if they give you an order against the fatherland! But do not listen to your country, if it were to give you an order against God.”