Sunday, October 19, 2014

Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, October 19, 2014 with Reflection

1ST READING - Isaiah 45:1, 4-6
Thus says the Lord to his anointed, Cyrus, whose right hand I grasp, subduing nations before him, and making kings run in his service, opening doors before him and leaving the gates unbarred: For the sake of Jacob, my servant, of Israel my chosen one, I have called you by your name, giving you a title, though you knew me not. I am the Lord and there is no other, there is no God besides me. It is I who arm you, though you know me not, so that toward the rising and the setting of the sun people may know that there is none besides me. I am the Lord, there is no other.
P S A L M - Psalm 96:1, 3, 4-5, 7-8, 9-10
R: Give the Lord glory and honor.
Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all you lands. 3 Tell his glory among the nations; among all peoples, his wondrous deeds. (R) For great is the Lord and highly to be praised; awesome is he, beyond all gods. For all the gods of the nations are things of nought, but the Lord made the heavens. (R) Give to the Lord, you families of nations, give to the Lord glory and praise; give to the Lord the glory due his name! Bring gifts, and enter his courts. (R) Worship the Lord in holy attire. Tremble before him, all the earth; 10 say among the nations: the Lord is king. He has made the world firm, not to be moved; he governs the peoples with equity. (R)
2ND READING - 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father, knowing, brothers and sisters loved by God, how you were  chosen. For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction.
Shine like lights in the world as you hold on to the word of life.
Matthew 22:15-21
15 The Pharisees went off and plotted how they might entrap Jesus in speech. 16 They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. And you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion, for you do not regard a person’s status. 17 Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?” 18Knowing their malice, Jesus said, “Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin that pays the census tax.” Then they handed him the Roman coin. 20 He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” 21 They replied, “Caesar’s.” At that he said to them, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”


The Gospel passage today puts us face to face once more with the act of the Pharisees that earned for them the moniker “hypocrites.” They started with a classical act of flattery, followed by a question that was designed to entrap the respondent.

       It was a question that was meant to enrage either the Roman or the Jewish authorities. It was, in effect, a question that could have sounded like:  “Take your pick and declare your choice: Is it God or Caesar?” The Master was immediately thrust in between the classical horns of a dilemma, but He managed to skillfully put the burden on the questioner.

       The questioner may well be each one of us, confused and torn between so many conflicting allegiances that pull us from all sides. There’s the pull of the ultra-liberals, who preach about believing while not belonging, being avowedly pro-God while being out and out pro-choice (read: for themselves). There’s the pull, too, of the ultra-conservatives for whom the only important thing is correctness in rote ritual. There, too, is the pull of postmodernity and globalization, where truth is seen as never “out there” but in the hearts and minds of everyone. Everyone creates or constructs his own truth. But there, too, is the pull of “technologism,” where solutions are believed to be within the reach of everyone who knows how to google and use what technological gizmos and gadgets can offer.

       Welcome to the world in “cultural decline,” where the world of the intangibles, the invisible realm of values and virtues, has been effectively obliterated due to the onslaught of metaphysical and moral materialism.

       You and I are situated in such a world. Our faith is being challenged on all sides, and our commitment to believe and belong translates into a delicate balancing act, not unlike what the Lord faced. We need to pledge allegiance to both cross and crown. Faith also means defining where one’s duty to crown ends, and where duty to the cross begins. Fr. Chito Dimaranan, SDB
REFLECTION QUESTION: How do you balance your faith and the realities in your own world?
Lord, help me to achieve a healthy balance between being in the world and keeping my eyes focused on eternal life.

Sts. John de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues and companions, pray for us.

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