Sunday October 16th Reflection 2011
A Reflection for the 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time
By Rev. Robert Johnnene OFD
Mission Sts. Sergius & Bacchus/Franciscans of Divine Mercy
“Very well, give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God”. Matthew 22:21
How do we give back to God those things that belong to Him? The Gospel reading for the twenty ninth Sunday of Ordinary time informs us that we should give back to the government that which is theirs and to God that which is His.
We therefore are advised by Christ to live up to the obligations we owe to our government and give to God what God deserves, honor, praise and glory.
We have a choice, we can choose to serve those human gods of Greed, power, domination, discrimination, materialism and self-effacement or do we choose to follow the way of Jesus Christ. The answer should be very easy if we seek not only everlasting peace in the hereafter but in this world we live in. We soon will be asked to fulfill one of our obligations to government by voting for the person who will have the ability to make not only this country but the world a better place.
This weeks Gospel tells us to give government what it requires of citizens, one of which is to vote. When we exercise that right we not only will be fulfilling our obligation but if we do it with an eye toward which candidate will best meet the way Jesus taught and which candidate will insure a government that is compassionate, kind and concerned for all God’s children especially those most in need of help, the poor, sick, elderly and homeless we will be giving honor to God.
When Jesus Christ was transfigured God informed us clearly who Jesus was with these words; “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" (Matthew 17:4-6).
When we read the teachings of Christ, we find clear concise guidelines as to how we are expected to live our lives. These are found in The Sermon on the Mount, and in the “GREAT COMMANDMENT”, "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:29-30)
Could Christ’s teachings be any clearer, yet so many try to FIT THEIR POLITICALLY CORRECT AGENDA” and reject things that might put a financial strain on the few who have gotten rich and powerful through means that was not always best for the majority. The Book of Isaiah (58:10) teaches us that; if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday.
When we fail to be concerned for the well being of ALL God’s children we are not, and we cannot, claim to be serving God and giving back to Him what He deserves.
Jesus, in the stories of his everyday life, rejected no one, not even those who were to crucify him. Jesus sat and ate with those that Jewish law forbade eating a meal with. We can dislike the way another person acts, we can reject their choices as not acceptable, we have the freedom to choose not to associate with some people because they lie, cheat, steal, murder, and act in an manner that is offensive to God, But, When we decide that power, money, prestige, fame, and greed are more important to us than living according to God’s way, we are not serving God.
We need to remember what we have been instructed, we should judge a person, even our elected officials, by their past deeds. Have they fought to feed the poor and clothe the Naked and provide adequate housing to the homeless or sought equal pay for equal work? Have they spoken out against atrocities and war? Do they respect and love all of God’s children and seek to have all treated fairly?
In the recent debates the candidates who would like to replace our current president have used character assassination, lies and advocated policies that would harm the poor, aged, sick while helping the rich get even richer which are not policies that are consistent with the teachings of Christ or the way someone who claims to be a Christian should be advocating.
The question poised at the beginning of this reflection was, “Do you render to God that which is God’s and to Caesar that which is His” As Christians we are called by God to fight for equality, justice, compassion for all God’s children especially the poor, sick, aged ,homeless and hungry using The teachings of Christ as our guideline. They are found in the Sermon on the Mount and in the commandment “Love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, mind, soul and body and the second is like unto it, love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
By living a life of and practicing equality, justice, compassion, mercy, peaceful coexistence and charity you will be rendering to God that which is His and to Caesar what is His and fulfilling your civic duty. AMEN