2 Peter 3:12-15, 17-18; Psalm 90; Mark 12:13-17
The Gospel today is often used to prove the separation of Church and State, where the Church cannot interfere with the affairs of the state and the state cannot interfere with the affairs of the Church. This is a good idea, until, the state starts to dictate how people are to see what is moral and not. When Jesus said Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s, he was not saying the government can just do anything it wants. When Jesus said this, he is saying we should pay taxes, whatever is due to our rulers, BUT we should also give God what is due to him. This is the basic principle of justice: that we give God what is due to him.
Despite what government officials think, they are not the rulers of the land. God is! They are still subject to the laws of God and they cannot usurp the authority of God to determine what is good and evil. The law allows for killing of the unborn and elderly and it has corrupted the institution that mirrors the image of God, marriage. Just because these are legal, does not mean they are according to God’s laws which define natural law. Law makers have plundered what is God’s exclusive right: to determine what is good and evil. This was the sin of Lucifer and he led Adam to this sin also.
This is why the Peter, in the first reading tells us to strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. We are to strive for holiness, to be at peace with Christ, able to discern what is good and evil according to the will of God. Peter also warns us: beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless and lose your own stability. We need to discern whether a law is good or evil and not blindly follow what the government tells us. Sadly, there are many so called Catholics who also support these evil laws by distorting the Truth of Jesus Christ.
Peter tells us how we can achieve this: Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is our responsibility to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior. This is how we can unmask the errors and lies promoted by politicians or preachers who claim to be Catholic, but are not.
Give to God what is God’s. The Psalm today tells us: God has been our refuge from age to age. He existed even before the mountains were brought forth, or before he formed the earth. Which is why God’s Law overrules any law of the land. We are not bound to obey an unjust law or command because God is King of all the Earth and Jesus is Lord of heaven, of the earth and what is under the earth. We give to God what belongs to God: honor, worship, obedience!
This is what St Marcellinus and St Peter did. This Peter is not Simon Peter, but a different Peter who lived in the fourth century under the persecution of the Roman Emperor, Dioceltian, who required everyone, including Christians to offer sacrifices to the Roman gods. These were issued to target Christian clergy. While little is know about them except that Marcellinus was a priest and Peter an exorcist who worked with him, one can assume they died because they refused to obey this unjust law. But they have been revered by early Christians because their names were included in the prayers of the Church at that time and their names are still included in the Roman Canon which is sometimes used at mass.
Marcellinus and Peter would not obey an evil law despite the threats of death. One account even said, they saw their imprisonment as an opportunity to convert their jailer and his family. They also happily cleaned the place where they will be executed. Their lives and deaths show we are to give God what belongs to God. We can only do this when we increase in our knowledge of Jesus Christ by learning about our faith so we can know, God is king of all the earth.
Lord, send your Holy Spirit so I may know you and remain holy and blameless in your sight. Give me wisdom to discern what is good and evil according to your will. May I have courage to choose obedience to you rather than obedience to evil laws. St Marcellinus and St Peter, Pray for me.