• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 16 October 2020 12:35

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time - 2020

Written by Fr Elmer Ibarra SVD

 

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 22:15-21

Fr Elmer Ibarra 150 BestFor those of us living here in Australia or in New Zealand, if you take notice, you’ll see that on all of our coins, we see the image of Queen Elizabeth II or whoever is the ruling monarch in England. For us nowadays, we don’t really take a lot of notice of it. Maybe if you are a coin collector like me, you might want to collect the different portraits of Queen Elizabeth as she ages, because I think she has around five portraits, ranging from when she first ascended to the throne until the present where is portrayed more closely to her current age.

However, during the time of Christ, the face on the coin was a cause of discontent among the people of his time in Palestine. For nationalistic Jews, they had been fighting underground against the Roman occupation and every time they saw the coin with the Roman emperor’s face on it, it was a reminder for them of the people that they hated.

In the gospel for today, the coin is being used for a different intention. The Pharisees have been plotting against Jesus so that they may be able to trap him through his speech. And in this plot, they have even asked the presence of the Herodians, supporters of King Herod to use them to trap Jesus even more. At first, they lavished praise on Jesus, most probably in an effort to catch Jesus off-guard. Then they questioned Jesus on a very controversial question – what we call a “Catch 22” – meaning that whatever Jesus answered it would draw possibly violent reactions either to the Romans or to the Jews. They asked him if it was lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not? It seems so simple but it is actually a loaded question. If Jesus said it was lawful, Jesus would upset the Jews who considered the presence of the Romans an abomination to their religion. They would accuse Jesus of being in cahoots with the Roman occupiers, and this would scuttle Jesus’ ministry of spreading the gospel as he would lose face and credibility with the very people he was serving. If he said it was not lawful, the Herodians and the Roman soldiers would pounce on him and accuse him of instigating an uprising against the Romans and Jesus would inevitably get arrested and his ministry would end prematurely.

However, Jesus found a way of getting around the question and saving his integrity in the process. He asked for a Roman coin from the Pharisees, and they handed him one. Then he asked them, whose image and inscription was on the coin and they answered that it was Caesar’s. So Jesus said that they should render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God. With this Jesus’ integrity went even higher and for the Pharisees, their plan to trap Jesus backfired and they fell in the trap themselves.

First, it was misuse of power and malice that led the Pharisees to trap Jesus instead of using their power to serve the people. Second, the Pharisees were truly hypocrites. It should have shocked the people watching the Pharisees to be seen with a Roman coin. For the Pharisees who were supposed to follow the commandments of God, they were found to possess a coin with an image of a person and for a devout Jew, they would be accused of idolatry for they should carry coins without images which was provided during the time of Christ for those who don’t want to violate the commandments of God.

However, for our time, we must focus on the phrase ‘give to God what belongs to God’. And for our lives, have we done that? While it is true that as human beings we should also submit to earthly authority so that there would be order in society, have we also done the same for God? Have we submitted to his authority also? Have we followed his commandments to love God and our neighbour?

May this gospel passage guide our lives and give what is not only for Caesar but also more importantly what is for God.

Today also as we celebrate World Mission Sunday, while praying for all lay and religious missionaries around the world. We pray for more missionaries so that the Kingdom of God may continue to be proclaimed to all the corners of the world.