A Homily – The Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading – Isaiah 45:1,4-6 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 95(96):1,3-5,7-10 ©

Second Reading – 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5 ©

Gospel Acclamation – John 17:17

Alternative Acclamation – Philadelphians 2:15 – 16

The Gospel According to Matthew 22:15 – 22 ©

(NJB)

The Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Be mindful of how the prophet speaks.

God, the creator of the universe does not intervene in the course of human affairs. God does not appoint kings, or grant victory in battle.

All such talk is vanity.

It is right to praise God; the creator of the universe. It is right to treat our discourse concerning God respectfully and honorably; God is holy and our discourse should bear in mind the sacred nature of God’s blessed work, but it is wrong to think of God as a Lord.

Know this!

God has already judged the world, and judged the entirety of the created order and God has proclaimed that it is good.

Take heart in this and let your faith rest in it.

God is not to be feared, God desires our trust.

There are no other God’s but God; the divine is one, but we should respect and strive to understand all language concerning the sacred and the reality of the divine, from whatever culture or nation it comes.

Listen!

Do not put too much stock in the buttery words of the apostle when he speaks to the church in Thessalonika, and remember this when you read the text he was there to ask them for money.

Remember this as well, God has chosen everyone, and God loves everyone without exception. The Thessalonians were no different than any other group of people in being the objects of God’s love.

And Remember, the Holy spirit blesses everyone and anyone can feign conviction, or a greater degree of conviction than they actually possess.

Listen!

You cannot lie and serve God at one and the same time.

Take joy in the work that is in front of you. Be content, for you have found your purpose sharing the word of life, and remember: if you are not engaged in loving service to your sisters and brothers, to the stranger and even your enemy, then you are not engaged in God’s work.

Consider the Gospel reading for today.

Listen to Jesus, the way has nothing to do with the concerns of political parties, and zealots.

Pay taxes or not, it does not matter. What does matter is whether the choices you make reflect the desire of God to see all people living well, fed, housed, clothed and educated, to see that their basic needs are met.

If paying taxes, no matter who the taxes are paid to, furthers the ends of a just and ethical society, then pay them. If not, then not.

If waging a tax protest advances the suffering of the people, to no good end, then do not protest; pay. If not, then not.

Be mindful in all things you do, and evaluate the choices you are pondering both for the immediacy of their impact, and the long-term consequences that will flow from them as well.

Follow the good, be humble, love justice and be merciful all the days of your life.

First Reading – Isaiah 45:1, 4-6 ©

I Have Taken Cyrus by His Right Hand to Subdue Nations Before Him

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 – Psalm 95(96):1, 3-5, 7-10 ©

Give the Lord glory and power.

O sing a new song to the Lord,

  sing to the Lord all the earth.

Tell among the nations his glory

  and his wonders among all the peoples.

Give the Lord glory and power.

The Lord is great and worthy of praise,

  to be feared above all gods;

  the gods of the heathens are naught.

It was the Lord who made the heavens,

Give the Lord glory and power.

Give the Lord, you families of peoples,

  give the Lord glory and power;

  give the Lord the glory of his name.

Bring an offering and enter his courts.

Give the Lord glory and power.

Worship the Lord in his temple.

  O earth, tremble before him.

Proclaim to the nations: ‘God is king.’

  He will judge the peoples in fairness.

Give the Lord glory and power.

Second Reading – 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5 ©

We Constantly Remember Your Faith, Your Love and Your Hope

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 – John 17:17

Alleluia, alleluia!

Your word is truth, O Lord: consecrate us in the truth.

Alleluia!

Alternative Acclamation – Philadelphians 2:15 – 16

Alleluia, alleluia!

You will shine in the world like bright stars because you are offering it the word of life.

Alleluia!

The Gospel According to Matthew 22:15 – 22 ©

Give Back to Caesar what Belongs to Caesar

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.’

The Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)