October 19, 2014: Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity
“The kingdom, already present and growing in our midst, engages us at every level of our being and reminds us of the principle of discernment…Our mandate is to ‘go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation’ (Mk 16:15), for ‘the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God’ (Rom 8:19). Here, ‘the creation’ refers to every aspect of human life; consequently, ‘the mission of proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ has a universal destination of existence, all individuals, all areas of community life, and all peoples. Nothing can be alien to it’…” (181)
“…no one can demand that religion should be relegated to the inner sanctum of personal life, without influence on societal and national life, without concern for the soundness of civil institutions, without a right to offer an opinion on events affecting society. Who would claim to lock up in a church and silence the message of Saint Francis of Assisi or Blessed Teresa of Calcutta?…An authentic faith–which is never comfortable or completely personal—always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better that we found it…All Christians, their pastors included, are called to show concern for building a better world. This is essential, for the Church’s social thought is primarily positive: it offers proposals, it works for change and in this sense constantly points to the hope born of the loving heart of Jesus Christ…” (183) The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis
First Reading: Isaiah 45:1, 4-6
Psalm: 96: 1, 3, 4-5, 7-8, 9-10
Second Reading:1st Thessalonians 1:1-5b
Gospel: Matthew 22:15-21
Catechism of the Catholic Church
“ It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom. the love and service of one’s country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity. Submission to legitimate authorities and service of the common good require citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community.” (2239)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
“ Jesus refuses the oppressive and despotic power wielded by the rulers of the nations (cf.Mk 10:42) and rejects their pretension in having themselves called benefactors (cf. Lk22:25), but he does not directly oppose the authorities of his time. In his pronouncement on the paying of taxes to Caesar (cf. Mk 12:13-17; Mt 22:15-22; Lk 20:20-26), he affirms that we must give to God what is God’s, implicitly condemning every attempt at making temporal power divine or absolute: God alone can demand everything from man. At the same time, temporal power has the right to its due: Jesus does not consider it unjust to pay taxes to Caesar.
Jesus, the promised Messiah, fought against and overcame the temptation of a political messianism, characterized by the subjection of the nations (cf. Mt 4:8-11; Lk 4:5-8). He is the Son of Man who came “to serve, and to give his life” (Mk 10:45; cf. Mt 20:24-28: Lk 22:24-27). As his disciples are discussing with one another who is the greatest, Jesus teaches them that they must make themselves least and the servants of all (cf. Mk 9:33- 35), showing to the sons of Zebedee, James and John, who wish to sit at His right hand, the path of the cross (cf.Mk 10:35-40; Mt 20:20-23).” (379)
At the time of the Roman occupation, the Pharisees opposed paying the census tax, as they viewed it as collaboration with the enemy. The Herodians consented to the tax imposed by the Roman authorities. In words of platitude, Jesus was drawn into the debate. Flowing words attempting to subvert his ego—perceived but not akin to his humanly divine nature. Words acknowledging his truthfulness to teach the way of God, while not being concerned about society’s reactions. But in reality, the promptings of the Pharisees’ attempted to latch on to Jesus’ words and propel them like an incendiary device. Aware of their motives, Jesus would not let his words ignite a violent revolt. Instead, he acted out of non-violence, saying to repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. Give the occupiers back their coins symbolizing deeds of oppression and control by military aggression. The coins did not define the nature of Jesus’ followers, so giving the coins back was not a sacrifice of paying the census tax. The action translated into repaying as a sign of protest to highlight the audacity of conquest.
The perspective of repaying instead of paying also translates into our relationship with God, for Jesus also said repay to God what belongs to God. This repayment translates into thanksgiving for the gifts of blessing God imparts instead of possessiveness and individualism. The image of possessions can be grasped in our hands as possessive ownership or the freedom of stewardship. How do you use your intellect, self-amusing and self-serving or to nurture others and enhance the kingdom of God? How do you use your time? Work rooted in faith and labor of love with endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ? With the power and conviction of the Holy Spirit, we see we can pay nothing to God, only repay the gifts he has given to us. How we repay must be void of malice, vengeance and violence, physically and verbally, to give the Lord glory and honor. The gods of the nations can be things to repay in a similar demeanor not in silence to repay in non-violent protest and expose unjust paths. But we give to the Lord, a family from all nations, glory and praise by bringing gifts he has given, returned with a new song on our lips. He arms us not with social and economic weapons of destruction, but peace within our hearts to live with a non-violent perspective. For that is the only path we can traverse to repay God, any other prerogative, any shroud of violence, would deny all we have and all we are comes from God.
Individual Reflection Matthew 22:15-21
Prayerfully discern where you need to repay injustice with non-violent protest. Will you write a letter, not in vengeance, but with compassion for change. Join a vigil for peace in a neighborhood etched with violence. Let the Holy Spirit lead your actions.
Family Reflection: Psalm 96:1, 3, 4-5, 7-8, 9-10
On your phones have the greeting message offer hope and encouragement.
My phone greeting is, “Thank you for calling. Open the door to each new day with cheerfulness, live each day with happiness, be creative, support peace and social justice, do good always for others and yourself. :
God you continually form our intellect and being. All we have, all we are comes from you. We thank you for helping us step beyond a spirit of possessiveness and hoarding what you have given us to the openness of repaying you all that we have and are. Help us to see oppression, in all the nations and when needed repay with non-violent protest the deeds of injustice. Thank you for this freedom, thank you for this peace and grant us the spirit of discernment. In the gratitude for the gift of your Son, Amen
Blogs to Visit:
As we reflect upon Mary’s presence in the mysteries of the Rosary, we are blessed to know her. For her journey, a timeless trek, calls us to surrender, continuing conversion, humbleness and justice now.
Weekly lectionary reflections, for faith sharing groups, parish bulletins, newsletters or personal prayer, from the synergy of the Word we hear and the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.
Catholic Social Teaching offers seven principles for upholding life in our thoughts, decisions and actions.
How we do Catholic Social Teaching.
Creation sustainability ministry resources in the spirit of the St Francis Pledge.
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born October 13, 2014 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.