Message 0070 – October 15, 2020
October 16, 2020
Matthew 22:34-40 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time October 25, 2020
October 24, 2020

Matthew 22:15-21 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time October 18 , 2020

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 45:1,4-6
1 Thessalonians 1:1-5
Matthew 22:15-21

World Mission Sunday

A. Text/Context

  • The hostilities between Jesus and the Pharisees are now escalating and this time the Pharisees and the Herodians are in connivance
  • The Pharisees hated Jesus but they could not find anything to accuse him so he can be sent to prison
  • And who are the Herodians?TheHerodians are very loyal to the Roman emperor who at that time was Tiberius Caesar Augustusand these Herodians do not care either about God or religion
  • So,the Pharisees together with the Herodians they asked Jesus in order to trap him. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor?
  • So this is a trap! If Jesus will say yes that it is lawful, then the people faithful to Judaism will get angry because he worships the emperor
  • At that time worship of the emperor as a God is very common because the emperor claims he has a divine origin
  • The Jews only worship one God and that is Yahweh. Worshipping other Gods will be idolatry
  • And if Jesus will say it is not lawful then the people loyal to the Roman emperor will get angry because he does not respect the emperor
  • It will be an act of rebellion because the Jews in Palestine were under the Roman empire
  • The question is really intended to trap Jesus so that he will hold a position contrary to the people or one that will bring him into conflict with the Roman authorities. A yes or no answer will both put Jesus in a dangerous situation
  • But Jesus is far wiser than them and he asked for a coin. There the face of the coin was that of Caesar and he said: Repay to Caesar what is due to Caesar and repay to God what is due to God.
  • So, the answer both embarrassed the Herodians and the Pharisees
  • The Herodians do not care about God and so they have nothing to repay what is due to God, and the Pharisees also used the money in circulation with the face of Caesar
  • They are not repaying what is due to Caesar because they devise ways and means not to make a direct payment of taxes because possessing a coin with an image of an idol is not allowed in Judaism
  • And worse the Pharisees do not repay their dues to God either because they are only concerned with the externals of the law and they do not practice charity to others
  • So instead of trapping Jesus they were the one trapped instead

B. Human Situation

  • My brothers and sisters how do we apply now the message of the gospel in our lives as Christians?
  • In the context of our society, all employees have the duty to pay taxes
  • We also have the duty to follow traffic rules and regulations, rules of cleanliness and sanitation, rules of work in the offices
  • All of us are called to become good citizens so that everything will function properly and everybody will be happy
  • A lot of people think that these things have no bearing about our life as Christians because these are so civil in character it has nothing to do with our faith
  • The reality is that we are rendering service to our neighbor if we are a good citizen and at the same time we are also rendering service to God because we make our neighbors happy
  • One time somebody told me Father I do want to pay taxes but some people in the agency are really corrupt to the bone
  • What shall I do? I told him you have another duty to do, to fight against corruption
  • And so you will find out that you have just touched the tip of an iceberg
  • You will find out that corruption is larger than what you imagined. What you are going to do? Do only what you can do
  • Remember that during the rule of dictatorship here in the Philippines only about three or four people served as the catalyst for change and now weenjoy democracy at least
  • If you remember Poland in Eastern Europe during the 90’s. The collapse of communism was triggered by only one person Lech Walesa of the shipyard in Gdansk
  • In the biblical times people were already thinking that the Roman empire will stay in power forever yet it collapsed and crumbled to pieces
  • If we do our part to make a little change for the better then that will be the beginning of a bigger change

C. Challenge

  • The gospel today is reminding us that fulfilling our obligations to our country and our fellow people is an expression of our love for our neighbors
  • If we love our neighbors then we love God at the same time because we cannot love God without showing our love to our neighbors
  • As a good citizen of this country and by being a good Christian in this community we express that love to God by obedience to the laws of the land
  • If we work for the good of all, then certainly God will be very pleased with what we are doing
  • What is the message of the 1st reading in the book of the Prophet Isaiah?
  • Cyrus is a king but he doesn’t know God because he is a pagan but God anointed him to be a good ruler
  • The same with the 2nd reading. God has chosen people to make his power made manifest in this world
  • Everyone of us has a duty an obligation to at least do our part to obtain peace and harmony by obeying the law, by being a good citizen, a good Christian
  • Not all of us can become heroes by eradicating the many and tremendous problems that we are facing
  • God only expects us to do what we can to transform our lives our society
  • What can God will do next is to continue what we have started
  • We first do the little part that we have, and God will continue the bigger part
  • If we are good citizens, we pay our dues in the form of taxes. And in this World Mission Sunday, we also support the missionaries by supporting the Church financially with what we can share from the bottom of our heart
  • Most of all, we support the missionaries with prayers for their safety, strength and fortitude especially those assigned in the dangerous missions in many parts of the world

 

 

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