The Pharisees met secretly to plot a way to trick Jesus into saying something they could use against him in court. They wanted to stop him from preaching and teaching. After they had developed a plan, they sent their disciples to ask Jesus certain questions.
“Teacher,” one of them said, “we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. And you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion, for you do not regard a person’s status.”
The man paused before asking Jesus the question formed by the Pharisees.
“Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?”
Jesus knew immediately that the men were trying to fool him. In a voice loud enough for everyone to hear him Jesus replied, “Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? Show me the coin that pays the census tax.”
One of the men reached into the pocket of his robe and pulled out a coin. As the man handed the coin to Jesus, the sun rays flashed on the shiny metal. Jesus held the coin up over his head. Then he asked, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?”
“Caesar’s,” answered the men.
Jesus looked at the Pharisees, pointed at them, and said, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” They were amazed by the wisdom of the answer Jesus had given. They had nothing more to say, so they returned to their masters.
Later that same day the Sadducees, who also resented the teaching of Jesus, asked Jesus a very complicated question about the resurrection. To answer them, Jesus quoted from the Scriptures, and said, “(God) is not the God of the dead but of the living.” And again the crowd was astonished by the wisdom of Jesus.
A final test by his adversaries was one more question, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. … The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
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1. Which two political groups tried to test Jesus?
2. Which commandment is the greatest of all?
Jesus was often challenged by the Pharisees, who believed the laws given to the prophets were to be obeyed rigidly. They believed people who did not follow the laws were sinners and felt that Jesus was not obeying the laws.
Although the Pharisees, Sadducees and chief priests frequently disagreed, they worked together to try to stop Jesus from preaching and performing miracles.
Though Jesus was killed on the cross because of their treachery, he triumphed over sin by rising from the dead on the third day.
Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) was fascinated with the lives of the saints when she was as young as 7 years old. She and her brother Rodrigo recklessly thought they wanted to be child-martyrs. As they headed from their home in Spain to the dangerous country of the Moors, they were seen by their uncle, who brought them back to their mother. After that, Teresa decided the life of a hermit might be more acceptable. She liked to be alone so that she could pray.
After the death of her mother, Teresa was brought to a convent of Augustinian nuns by her father where she could be educated. She wanted to become a nun, but her father did not agree.
Although she loved her father, she ran away to join a different convent as a nun. When she came down with a serious case of malaria, her father and uncle took her home and prayed for her. She was healed and devoted the rest of her life to prayer. She experienced miracles and founded several convents.
We remember her on Oct. 15.