Homilies and reflections for Sunday
Isaiah 45: 1, 4-6
1 Thessalonians 1: 1-5
Matthew 22: 15-21
This Sunday’s Reflection
Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
Matthew’s brief account tells us a great deal about the situation that was developing in the last days of Jesus life. The Jewish people bitterly resented the Roman occupation of their country; now, those who have turned against Jesus exploit this explosive situation to discredit him. The dilemma that Jesus is placed in by the question put to him about the paying of the Roman tax is brought out in Matthew’s account by the composition of the group putting the question – Pharisees and Herodians.
29A Ordinary Time – Blogs
29A Ordinary Time – Blogs
Fr. John P. Cush – EVANGELIST (DIOCESE OF ALBANY)
Cyrus, a non-Jew, becomes the agent of the Lord. What can we glean for our spiritual life? Perhaps this: the Lord is always helping us, always looking out for us, always caring for us. He does this in so many ways! He sends people into our lives, “angels in disguise,” even the people whom we would never suspect – even non-believers!
Msgr. Joseph A. Pellegrino – DIOCESE OF ST. PETERSBURG
During World War II, that horrible war of four generations ago, the British people had a saying that defined everyone’s part in the war. They called it “doing my bit.” That bit might be that of an infantryman charging a bunker, an airman flying over enemy territory… Well, all of us have our bit to play in the work of the Kingdom of God. That bit might be something of which everyone is aware, or that bit might be something that no one sees but God himself. It really does not make a difference whether our bit is known or not. What matters is that our effort leads to the eventual victory of the Kingdom of God over the forces of evil that attack His world. We have to stay attuned to the Presence of God in our lives, so that we can come to a deeper understanding of what it is that God wants from each of us, His call is deep within our hearts. (2020)
Jamie Waters – AMERICA MAGAZINE
In today’s Gospel, we hear the well-known passage that is sometimes used to justify paying taxes or to advocate for a separation of church and state. Instead, Matthew may simply be trying to demonstrate Jesus’ ability to reframe arguments and spotlight important matters….It is very unlikely that Matthew wants to make a claim regarding the separation of church and state. The concept itself would be unfamiliar in Matthew’s context, and it is best not to retroject the idea back to first century Palestine. Instead, Matthew depicts Jesus being clever and thought-provoking, showing Jesus’ ability to recognize and avoid traps and shift the focus to how people live and treat one another. (2020)
Deacon Thomas Baker – LECTIONARY HOMILIES
Sometimes the Bible gives us a break, and there’s a story with some images that are actually familiar to us from everyday life. Today instead of sheep, and fig trees, and jars of oil, we have an image of something we have around us everywhere: taxes and money. But I hate to tell you, even with money, things were very complicated around this time in Jesus’s life, so there’s a little explanation that might be helpful in understanding the scene we’ve just heard. There were actually two kinds of money circulating in Jerusalem. First there were the Roman coins that were issued by the occupying power, which some Jews felt it was wrong to use for anything, much less to pay taxes in tribute to the foreign power who dominated the people of Israel. These were coins with the head of Tiberius Caesar on them. And then there was a whole other system of coins issued locally, without anyone’s image on them…. (2011)
Fr. George Smiga – BUILDING ON THE WORD
“Give to God what belongs to God.” It sounds innocent when you first hear it. But what belongs to God? Everything. What do we have that does not belong to God? Now some people point to this passage saying that Jesus is proposing equality between the state and God, akin to the separation of church and state. But nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus admits that the state has some claim on what we have, but he says that God has a claim on all we have. What do we have that does not belong to God? Our Life? The world around us? Our family? Our children, our grandchildren, our relationships, our health, our talents, our future? It is all God’s. (2005)
Click on link above to also read homilies from 2008, 2014, and 2017.
Fr. Austin Fleming – A CONCORD PASTOR COMMENTS
If we ask the question, “What belongs to God?” – the right answer is everything. If we ask, “What do we owe God” the answer is – well, at least a lot more than we probably want to give back! Can you think of one thing in the universe, one thing on earth, one thing in your home, among your possessions, one thing in your life that truly belongs to you – and not to God? Is there anything you and I have that, should God ask us for it, we could legitimately say, “Sorry, Lord – that’s mine – you’ll have to get your own.” Every good in our lives is a gift – and every good gift comes from God. Every gift from God is, if you will, on loan to us: something for us to be grateful for, to reverence, to use well, to share – or to give away. (2014)
Father John Kavanaugh, SJ – SUNDAY WEB SITE
What are we asked today to give to the empire? Is it our faith and moral practice? Our hopes and dreams? Our consciences? Our labor? Our children? And if we offer such sacrifices upon the altar of Caesar, have we betrayed the goods that are most intimately ours and God’s? The empire and those who vie for its throne offer us, in differing forms, an ideology of self-interest. One version promises us lower taxes and more prosperity, national security and power, enlightened egotism, and the narcissistic myth that since we have “earned” our possessions, the poor of our country and of the world can make no claim on us. (1997)
Father Vincent Hawkswell – B.C. CATHOLIC
All nature, insofar as it is nature, is good, as God said at its creation. However, it “did not spring forth complete” from his hands, says the Catechism of the Catholic Church. “With infinite wisdom and goodness,” he “freely willed to create a world in a state of journeying toward its ultimate perfection.” In God’s plan, this process involves “both constructive and destructive forces of nature”: “physical evil” as well as “physical good.” (2020)
Father Donald Senior, CP – CHICAGO CATHOLIC
We are only a few days away from a national election that virtually everyone concedes has great consequences in these unusual days of pandemic and rancor. I am sure the editors of the Lectionary, used worldwide, did not have this in mind when they chose the readings for today. Nevertheless, there is an eerie connection. The rationale of the Lectionary is that the Gospel selection sets the tone for the choice of the first reading and the Psalm response (the second reading runs sequentially and is not explicitly connected with the other readings). The Gospel selection for today is the famous encounter of Jesus and his Pharisee opponents who try to entrap him with a trick question: “Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?” (2020)
29A Ordinary Time – Blogs
29A Ordinary Time – Blogs
Lifeissues.net website publishes articles directly related to issues raised in Evangelium Vitae, and related homilies by Fr. Al Cariño, O.M.I., Fr. Tony Pueyo, and others.
Now, since politics and economics are of primary importance to God, they should also be of primary importance to the people. But since the concerns of the people are also the concerns of the Church — specially the concerns of the poorest among them for whom the Church has a preferential love — then she must intervene in politics and economics as they directly affect the people.
When a culture of corruption is affecting peopleís lives, whose job is it to speak up and give moral guidance?
When we consider recent church documents on missionary activity, we see there the interplay between proclamation and dialogue. The missionary, by his presence and word proclaims the good news about life in Jesus. This news may be perceived as strange and threatening. On the other hand, the missionary attempts to integrate this thread of good news into the fabric of life of the community, in a way that respects their culture.