Newsletter — Twenty-Nineth Sunday of the Year A – 22nd October 2023
Our First Reading this week is from Isaiah 45:1,4-6: The Lord chooses Cyrus to subdue the nations for the sake of Israel. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 96: Sing praise to the Lord. Today’s Second Reading is 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5: Paul greets the Thessalonians, recalling the Gospel they received.
Our Gospel Reading this Sunday is from Matthew 22:15-21: The Pharisees send their disciples to test Jesus with a question about taxes.
In today’s Gospel Jesus and the religious leaders in Jerusalem continue their tense exchange of questions and challenges. At this point the disciples of the Pharisees, together with the Herodians, try to entrap Jesus by their question about the payment of taxes.
Jesus’ response to this attempt to trap him exposes the guile of his questioners. From his first words to them, Jesus shows that he is very much aware of what they are trying to do. He asks to see a Roman coin, which is readily provided to him. It may have come from the hand of a Herodian, but the Pharisees show themselves to be quite willing to accept this compromise. Jesus has already exposed the Pharisees as
Jesus takes his response one step further. He asks that his questioners examine the coin. Agreeing that it is Caesar’s image on the coin, Jesus tells them that it must belong to Caesar. Avoiding the question of lawfulness altogether, Jesus answers their question with simple logic. Then, going further still, Jesus tells them that their obligation is to pay to God that which belongs to God. Jesus’ response to the
Herodians and Pharisees reminds us of the importance of keeping things in their proper perspective. Do we attach ourselves to worldly things at the expense of the love and honour that we owe to God?