Saturday, October 18, 2014
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 19, 2014
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Is 45: 1, 4-6/ Ps 96: 1, 3, 4-5, 7-8, 9-10 (7b) / 1 Thes 1: 1-5b / Mt 22: 15-21
First Reading: Isaiah 45: 1, 4-6
Thus says Yahweh to his anointed, to Cyrus: "I have taken you by the right hand to subdue nations before you and strip kings of their armor, to open the gateways before you so that they will be closed no more. For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen one, I have called you by your name and given you your mission although you do not know me. I am Yahweh, and there is no other; there is no God besides me. I armed you when you did not know me, so that, from the rising to the setting of the sun, all may know that there is no one besides me; I am Yahweh, and there is no other.
Second Reading: 1 Thes 1: 1-5b
From Paul, Sylvanus and Timothy to the church of Thessalonica which is in God the Father and in Christ Jesus, the Lord. May the peace and grace of God be with you. We give thanks to God at all times for you and remember you in our prayers. We constantly recall before God our Father the work of your faith, the labors of your love and your endurance in waiting for Christ Jesus our Lord. We remember, brothers and sisters, the circumstances of your being called. The gospel we brought you was such not only in words. Miracles, Holy Spirit and plenty of everything were given to you.
Gospel: Matthew 22:15-21
The Pharisees went out and took counsel on how they could trap Jesus with his own words. They then sent their disciples with the members of Herod's party for this purpose.
They said to Jesus, "Master, we know that you are an honest man and truly teach God's way; you are not influenced by others nor are you afraid of anyone. Tell us, then, what you think: is it against the Law to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" But Jesus understood their evil intent, and said to them, "Hypocrites! Why are you testing me? Show me the coin with which you pay the taxes." They showed him a denarius, and Jesus said to them, "Whose head is this, and whose name?" They answered, "Caesar's." Then Jesus replied, "Therefore, return to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."
Jesus says, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's," but he also adds, in the same breath: "and to God what is God's." The coin bore Caesar's image, so give it back to him. But whose image do we bear? If we bear God's image, does this not also mean: "Give yourself back to God?" In Genesis 1:27 we are told: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." Quite literally, we have all been created in the image of God, and we are to give back to God what is rightfully God's. Have we done this? Are we doing this? For all of us who have been born of God-through the Cross of Christ, God stamps His inscription on us. Whose portrait, whose inscription do we have stamped on us?
It is to be the likeness and image of God, for He made us and as Christians, Christ has purchased us with His blood. Are we willing to allow God to have what is already rightfully His? Our lives, our allegiance?
This does not mean that we do not pay taxes to Caesar, or to whoever the governing authority is. Christians are to be good citizens. We are to be good witnesses for Christ because our ultimate and everlasting citizenship is not of this world. Dust is not the final word for our lives, our citizenship is in heaven.
And this is what we, the Church of Jesus Christ, are even while we still live in this dying world. We are citizens of another, of a much greater country. We are not to be of this world. And while we are in this world, we are to be about God's business. Should we render unto Caesar what is Caesar's? Sure thing.
But, that is just a coin. What we are to render unto God is our whole selves. Are we doing this? Or do we still live as "Almost Christians" who have half an interest set in the kingdom of darkness, and another half in the kingdom of heaven?
Jesus told us that we cannot have it both ways because the kingdoms of this world and the kingdom of God are like oil and water. They are opposites. They don't mix. Are we living with the Philippine flag on our right side, a political affiliation on the left, and a symbol of Jesus somewhere in-between? If so, then our witness and our image of God imprinted on us is going to be blurred. Other people should be able to see Christ's image and Christ's inscription on us. We are to be the light of the world, the salt of the earth, not part of the dust. We are God's coins. We are to bear the image of God. There is to be no competition between God and Caesar. Our allegiance must be to Christ and Christ alone.
Sure, we are to pay a tax to Caesar, but God's due is our complete devotion. Is He getting it? Let this be our true and complete aim while we await our eternal home, to give our all to God. We are to let that image and inscription shine before all peoples so that they too may come to know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and join us in waiting for His joyful return from heaven.
The applicability of Jesus words in today's gospel comes down to this: to what degree, in what ways are we giving to God what is his? More particularly, to what degree, and in what ways is the image of Christ evident in us?
May God our Father guide, direct, and empower us to be for him all that he has created us to be. And, may Jesus, whose image we bear, find at the Judgment that we have rendered to him what is worthy for him to receive from us: our thanksgiving, our praise, and our service.
We pray ...
... for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary
... for families who are in need of healing
... for world peace and reconciliation
... for wisdom, perseverance and clarity of mind for those who prepare and take their exams:
* Karen Tuala and Lisette Mandocdoc who will take the bar exams on the four (4) consecutive weekends of October
... for the birthday intentions of Menchie de Castro
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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