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Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

Posté par diaconos le 14 octobre 2020

Give therefore unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A dans comportements Pile-Of-Ancient-Silver-Coins

From the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew

At that time, the Pharisees went to the council to trap Jesus by making him speak. They sent their disciples to him, accompanied by Herod’s followers : « Teacher, » they said to him, « we know that you are always true and that you teach the way of God in truth; you do not allow yourself to be influenced by anyone, for you do not consider people according to their appearance.

Then give us your opinion : Is it permissible, yes or no, to pay tax to Caesar, the emperor ? « Knowing their perversity, Jesus said, « Hypocrites, why do you want to test me ? Show me the currency of the tax. « They presented him with a coin of one denarius. He said to them, « Whose image and inscription are these ? « And they answered, « Caesar’s. Then he said to them, « Render therefore to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s. » And he said to them, « Give therefore to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.  » (Mt 22, 15-21)

Relationship between the State and the Church

This last replica of today’s Gospel is famous, it is one of the most famous phrases of Jesus, the most important, and also the most difficult because it poses the whole problem of the relationship between State and Church, Christians and politics, power and freedom of conscience.   For the Old Testament, all power comes from God. We heard in the first reading, taken from the book of Isaiah, that King Cyrus was anointed by God to do the divine work without knowing Him (Is 45, 1-6).

Saint Paul, applying the same principle, asked the first Christians to submit to the civil authorities (Rm 13, 1.7).   « Is it permissible, yes or no, to pay tax to the emperor ?  »  But Jesus, knowing their perversity, replied : « hypocritical ! Why are you laying a trap for me ? Show me the tax money.   » This see tells us that neither Jesus nor his dfollowers had this money on them, while the Pharisees, supposedly opposed to Rome, did.

  »Return to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. «    When Jesus returned to Caesar what belonged to him and to God what belonged to him, he gave us the true lesson of this event. There was something else to do than to argue among ourselves about the tax.

Pay the emperor the honours due to him, especially the tax. As for the inscription on the coins, which made the emperor a god: worship only God. Throughout his public life, Jesus never stopped saying this. To create in the image of God, we are destined to share His life. Every person deserves absolute respect because his or her destiny is divine.

The God I believe in is revealed in the face of Jesus Christ. He does not impose Himself by any formula. He asks himself with us : « Who am I for you ? He is relationship, gift and forgiveness. He is one and he is three. He is community and reciprocity. It is love. »

The only thing that counts, the most important thing, is to place oneself before the preaching of Jesus, for or against God, open or closed to his Kingdom. The reality of the earth, whether it was governed by Caesar or by someone else, fades away to make way for the new Kingdom. Through baptism, the Christian is a citizen of Heaven, and only God reigns there, not through taxes but through his grace of light and love.

Are we determined to belong to God as totally as this denarius belonged to the Emperor Tiberius ? This is the conversion that Jesus expects from all of us. This episode reminds us of our total dependence on God. It is not a question of making gods in our image, especially that of money, but of discovering that the only image of Jesus is us. May our concern for our own well-being not make us forget that of others !

Today is World Mission Sunday… . Christ calls us to send us out as witnesses of God’s love for all people. This Sunday has become « Mission Sunday », where our mission is recalled. For the world we must be radiant communities. We truly bear a strong witness when, like the Thessalonians, we have an active faith, a charity that gives itself, and a hope that holds firm. (2nd reading)

Deacon Michel Houyoux

A comment from you, in relation to this post, would be welcome. Write your comment in the box under the post

links to other websites of Christians

◊ LoLoya Press : click here to read the paper   →  Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

◊  The Catholic Productions  : click here to read the paper   →The Twenty-ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A

Sermon preached at Saint Luke’s Church in Sedona, Arizona.

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