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Scripture of the Week

DAILY SCRIPTURES

Reflection on the DAILY SCRIPTURES can be found at the following links:

'Our Daily Meditation' from Madonna Magazine - Jesuit Communications (Australia) 

Commentaries on the Daily Readings from SACREDSPACE (Ireland) 

Readings and Reflections on the day's Scripture (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) 

Daily Readings and Reflections (Passionist Fathers - USA) 

Commentary on the Gospel Reading for each day of the month (Dominican Fathers - Ireland)  

SUNDAY SCRIPTURES

Reflect on the Sunday Scriptures with:

Sr. Veronica Lawson rsm   SEE BELOW

Fr. John McKinnon click here

Fr. John Thornhill  click here

Sunday, 22 Oct 2017: Twenty-nineth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A

First Reading - Isaiah 45:1.4-6

I have taken the hand of Cyrus to subdue nations before his countenance.

Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,
whom he has taken by his right hand
to subdue nations before him
and strip the loins of kings,
to force gateways before him
that their gates be closed no more:
It is for the sake of my servant Jacob,
of Israel my chosen one,
that I have called you by your name,
conferring a title though you do not know me.
I am the Lord, unrivalled;
there is no other God besides me.
Though you do not know me, I arm you
that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun
that, apart from me, all is nothing.

Responsorial Psalm

Ps 95:1. 3-5. 7-10. R. v.7

(R.) Give the Lord glory and honour.

Second Reading - 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5

We are mindful of your faith, hope, and love.

From Paul, Silvanus and Timothy, to the Church in Thessalonika which is in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ; wishing you grace and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We always mention you in our prayers and thank God for you all, and constantly remember before God our Father how you have shown your faith in action, worked for love and persevered through hope, in our Lord Jesus Christ.

We know, brothers, that God loves you and that you have been chosen, because when we brought the Good News to you, it came to you not only as words, but as power and as the Holy Spirit and as utter conviction.

Gospel Acclamation

Phil 2:15. 16

Alleluia, alleluia!

Shine on the world like bright stars;

you are offering it the word of life.

Alleluia!

Gospel -  Matthew 22:15-21

Give to Caesar the things that belong to Caesar and to God the things that are God’s.

The Pharisees went away to work out between them how to trap Jesus in what he said. And they sent their disciples to him, together with the Herodians, to say, ‘Master, we know that you are an honest man and teach the way of God in an honest way, and that you are not afraid of anyone, because a man’s rank means nothing to you. Tell us your opinion, then. Is it permissible to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’ But Jesus was aware of their malice and replied, ‘You hypocrites! Why do you set this trap for me? Let me see the money you pay the tax with.’ They handed him a denarius, and he said, ‘Whose head is this? Whose name?’ ‘Caesar’s’ they replied. He then said to them, ‘Very well, give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God.’

Gospel Reflection:

The emergence of a common enemy is often the catalyst for sworn enemies to unite. In first century Palestine, Pharisees who were the respected religious teachers of the law and Herodians who represented secular Jewish power and wealth despised each other on both religious and political grounds. When both were faced with a perceived threat to their authority, however, they united in opposition. Their “opponent” in that context was Jesus of Nazareth. No good was to come of their alliance. They come together and try to set a trap for him. In attempting to set him up, they ironically pay him the greatest of tributes: addressing him as “teacher”, they acknowledge his sincerity and admit that he teaches the way of God in accordance with the truth. They witness to his lack of concern with status and hierarchical division.

The question of these traditional enemies is intended to put Jesus in a “no win” position: “Is it lawful to pay tribute to the emperor or not?” Jesus turns the question back upon them. He lets them know that he is aware of their malicious intentions and asks them to produce the coin used for the tax. He thus makes the issue one of images, a sensitive issue for all Jews, rather than of tribute. The Roman denarius that they produce bears the bust of the Roman emperor and the Latin inscription, “Tiberius Caesar, son of the divine Augustus, High Priest”.

 

Jesus’ response, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God”, can be interpreted in several ways. Is Jesus simply exposing their hypocrisy as bearers of images? From a Jewish perspective, everything belongs to God, the earth and all its riches. The disciples of the Pharisees and the Herodians are Jews, even if the sympathies of the latter lean towards the Roman occupiers. Is he telling them to pay the tax while still recognising God’s prior claim? Is he telling them not to pay the tax precisely because the emperor has no claim on what belongs to God? Is he critiquing the Roman occupation or legitimizing it? Or is he saying something else? They are left to interpret his response as they wish. One thing is clear: Jesus’ words have nothing to do with the modern distinction between Church and secular state. There are good reasons for paying taxes in a secular state and for contributing financially to the life of the Church. It is quite anachronistic to invoke this text in support of paying state taxes or of supporting the Church financially. The story is more about sincerity and truth in our relationships with each other and with the God of all truth. That must be the main criterion for any personal or global alliance

   Sr Veronica Lawson rsm

© The scriptural quotations are taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton Longman and Todd Ltd and Doubleday & Co Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. The English translation of the Psalm Responses, the Alleluia and Gospel Verses, and the Lenten Gospel Acclamations, and the Titles, Summaries, and Conclusion of the Readings, from the Lectionary for Mass © 1997, 1981, 1968, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

 

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