Homily Twenty-ninth Sunday of the Year A. Mission Sunday - Sunday, October 22, 2017
THE LITURGY OF THE WORD
First Reading: Isaiah 45:1. 4-6
Psalm: Ps 95:1. 3-5. 7-10. “Give the Lord glory and honour.”
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5
Gospel Acclamation: Philippians 2:15-16
Gospel: Matthew 22:15-21
Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers and reflections for the Twenty-ninth Sunday of the Year A. Mission Sunday - Sunday, October 22, 2017, by clicking this link here: https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/faith-hope-and-love-29th-ordinary-a-episode-53 (Edition: 53 )
[gospel values included in the readings: consistency inside and out, in attitude in action. The motivation for our actions and questions. Obedience to the state is not necessarily inconsistent with obedience to God. We must take responsibility for our own actions and decisions and thank God for God’s actions and decisions.” ]
This Weekend's Homily is dedicated to the Memory of my uncle, Charles Donald Winter (1941-2017). May he Rest in Peace.
The readings for this weekend really pick up on the concept of encouraging in us, and in our society…… the importance of consistency and integrity.
The first reading from Isaiah is really fascinating. It speaks about God appointing King Cyrus as his shepherd, his anointed one……. King Cyrus might not mean much to us thousands of years after he lived and reigned…. But, it was extraordinary in his day….. King Cyrus was the founding ruler of the Great Persian Empire…. and although he was not Jewish, was extremely supportive of the Jewish people and issued an edict that allowed the “Jewish population to return to the Promised Land from Babylon, and he also allowed them to rebuild the temple and gave them back their treasures. …. The book of Isaiah honours him as a dignified and righteous king. He is the only Gentile to be designated as an anointed one of God…… The word means…… “Messiah,” or "Christ" - a divinely-appointed king.
This itself is a powerful illustration that there is not always a clear or distinct divide between religion and politics. Even those who are not religious, or who do not profess a religious faith may still be enormously supportive in promoting the values of God’s Kingdom…. and as such they may very well be acting as God’s servants, friends and instruments of God’s will, even if they would not themselves name it as such…..
In the Gospel, the Pharisees were fiercely nationalistic. They hated the Herodians, who supported King Herod, who has “sold out” as a puppet of the Roman Empire. And here they are uniting to trap Jesus……. Their sincerity is not credible….
And of course… the only ones touching the coin with Caesar’s head on it… are the Pharisees and the Herodians…. Jesus probably kept his hands right off it…..
Our Lord indicates that duty to God and duty to civil authority is not necessarily contradictory…
He could be taken to be saying…. the coins were minted by the Romans… it is their economic system that they belong to…. give it back to them….. get rid of money…. free yourselves from the economy and the control of the Roman system and create a new reality that is not associated with the materialism, politics and greed that come with that system…..
Those motivated by ill-will were separating government and religion entirely. Or, to be more precise, they were just trying to trap Jesus. Did they really care about government and religious relations?. They were setting Jesus up in a seemingly "no-win" situation. However, Our Lord answered wisely by affirming that there is a duty to observe civil laws and procedures, but that we also owe allegiance to God. Where possible, there may be no conflict. In the end, of course, our true loyalty is to God, who made all things. He would not be drawn into a divisive argument for complete separation from earthly government, (per se). Government is not always and everywhere opposite to God’s authority.
There is not a clear-cut Religion vs Government line here…. It requires discernment. It is possible that supporting civil projects gives glory to God… it is also possible that serving God can be at the service of civil needs….. Our Lord is not trying to build an impenetrable “them and us’’ mentality.
Also, this theme of “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” has another angle ……. …… “Take responsibility for what is your own doing and give thanks to God, for what is God’s doing…”…The religious leaders of Jesus' time were pretending to be righteous and concerned for others' spiritual and physical welfare, but Our Lord saw through that and perceived their true motives: their hearts were filled with malice and they were asking these questions merely to trap him, blame him and discredit him.
I was reading an article that reminds me a bit about this…..
RENDER TO GOD WHAT IS GOD’S: (A CHALLENGING REFLECTION FROM SPIRITUAL WRITER JOEL SCHORN)
“WHO’S YOUR WORST ENEMY? Our own worst enemy could actually be ourselves! Who knows better how to sabotage us, who else knows as well where our weak spots are, how to really make us pay for our mistakes? We eat or drink too much: Whose fault is that? Can’t blame the cook or the bartender, (they are not forcing food and drink down our throats). We can fritter our money away, at the shops in senseless purchases or at the pokies. Ought we to bring a lawsuit against the Casino or the local shopping centre? If we smoke, don’t exercise, neglect our sleep, work too much, play too much, can’t control our temper or our mouths? Who is to blame? Isn’t it true, that the one force in your life (closest to home) which is most likely to do you serious harm is YOU?”
People can blame God (or others) for events that are really their own responsibility………. We can self-defeat, and then blame anyone else but ourselves for the predicament…… Rather, we can trust that God wants only the good for us and wants us to be at peace -living consistently with Jesus’ values…… God wants us to admit our frailty, our vulnerability and need.. and turn to him for healing and grace.
Jesus is inviting us to look inside ourselves and see any ways in which our words and actions are not matching up…… (Or as St Paul says.,… in the second reading,,,,, putting faith into action…… and not merely words…. but as power, as the Holy Spirit and as utter conviction…)……
Jesus is asking each one of us to be wary of the areas in which we are not taking responsibility for the things that are our issues. We are to be alert to ways in which we serve our own interests whilst saying that we are acting in the best interests of Jesus….. The true test is how self-serving our actions really end up being….. Jesus was utterly sure that he owed absolutely EVERYTHING to The Father, and did not make excuses, Instead, he emptied himself entirely in service and love. This humbles us and makes us truly grateful. May we be strengthened to follow his example…. in our daily life and actions…
Fr Paul W. Kelly
Barclay, W. (1975). The Gospel of Matthew. Part II. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: St. Andrew Press.
“RENDER TO GOD WHAT IS GOD’S”- JOEL SCHORN
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Twenty-ninth Sunday of the Year A. Mission Sunday
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
Lord Jesus, you are mighty God and Prince of peace. Lord have mercy// You are Son of God and the Son of Mary. Christ have mercy// You are Word made flesh, the splendour of the Father. Lord have mercy.
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.
own preface p.61
Eucharistic Prayer IV p.61
Communion side. FR pwk: LH
Go forth, the Mass is ended.
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