Reflection for 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time
First Reading: Isaiah 45:1, 4-6
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5B
The Pharisees went off and plotted how they might entrap Jesus in speech. They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians…. The Herodians were members of King Herod’s party. They were strong supporters of Rome’s right to tax the Jewish people. Pharisees opposed the tax, but paid it to avoid confrontation with the Roman leadership. Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not? This question was designed to get Jesus into deep trouble. If Jesus said it was lawful to pay the tax, the Jewish people would be angry with him, for siding with the Romans. On the other hand, if Jesus said that is was not lawful to pay the tax, he could be turned into the Romans as a rebel, someone against the emperor.
Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God. Each of us through the course of life must decide on what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God. Perhaps you have seen the movie: A Man for All Seasons…St Thomas More had to choose between opposing King Henry VIII or violating his conscience and his Catholic beliefs. He remained faithful to his obligation to God. While we may not be called to the same decision, like St. Thomas More, which resulted in his martyrdom, we make decisions each day between choosing that which is of God vs. that which is of the “world”.
We choose God, when we make time for prayer each day. We choose God, when we ask the Holy Spirit to help us in our decision making. We choose God, when we say “no” to sin.
At our Baptism, the image of God was engraved on our soul. We are like a freshly minted new coin…. But then what happens? The image becomes dirtied and worn down by sin. Confession restores the image of God on our soul. St. Augustine wrote: ”Just as a coin if it’s rubbed with earth, loses the emperor’s image, so the human mind, if it’s rubbed with earthly lusts, loses God’s image. However, along comes Christ the master of the mint, to strike the coins afresh. And how does he strike the coins afresh? By pardoning sins with grace; and he will show you that God is looking for his image.”
Let’s pray our Psalm response: “Give the Lord glory and honor”.
May God bless us all always!