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Back The Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Saturday, October 17, 2020
From the Desk of Fr. Ron……
During this Autumn season we marvel at the multicolored leaves as trees and foliage around us to prepare for the upcoming winter season. The life blood of trees, their sap, their bodily fluid, makes its journey for survival to its lower regions of its trunk and roots. The leaves thus deprived of their life blood begin to die and provide for us a visual feast of bold colors.
Human death experience is a great equalizer. No matter our background, no matter our success or failure in life, death comes to all equally. People of great means will go to the ends of the earth to search for anything that can prolong their physical life. Yet, as human beings we all at one time or another will lay our body down back to the earth.
We hear some wisdom from the words of Job: “Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go back there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!” (Job 1:21).
In our continuous reading of the Gospel of Matthew these days, the Pharisee’s, scribes and elders of the people use many means to try to entrap Jesus in speech. This weekend’s passage from the twenty-second chapter of Matthew, follows that intention as well. Jealous Pharisaic leaders attempt to make Jesus an enemy of the state and thus the state would have to intervene and carry out their own plans to silence Him. Jesus, however, does not fall prey to their plans. Their plot is a clever one. The Roman government as many others, survives by obtaining funds from their citizens and others in their land, by a tax. In this case it is a census tax. The Roman government was an occupier of the Jewish community; one that the Jewish community wished to be free from forever. Then, as is now, people looked for every means available to avoid paying the tax. The response of Jesus frees Him from self-incrimination. “Show me the coin that pays the census tax. Whose image is this and whose inscription?.repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God” (Matthew 22:19-21).
By this teaching Jesus reminds us that our lives are not our own; they are a pure gift. We truly belong to God. It is from Him that we have come and to Him we shall return. Even those who attempt to end other people’s lives, not only cease their human existence but not their eternal existence with God. This truth gave the early Christian Martyrs the strength to laugh at and even encourage their physical torturers often thanking them for speeding their way to their heavenly home. May these truths of our heavenly origin and goal empower us to remain faithful to our heavenly purpose. That is, to give to God what belongs to God. Let our whole lives be spent in His service to build up God’s Kingdom here and now.