TWENTY-NINTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME A.
Texts: Isaiah 45:1, 4-6; 1 Thess 1.1-5b; Matt 22:15-21
By Fr. Augustine Agwulonu, OP
Messages from the Scripture Texts
- According to the Prophet Isaiah, the Lord, our God is proactive as he manifests his goodness, provides for, and arranges all things for the wellbeing of his children whom he calls by name each, even before they get to know him.
- Paul expresses gratitude to God for the positive response of the faithful in Thessalonica, “with work of faith, labor of love, and endurance in hope,” to the Gospel he preached to them in “word,” “power,” the “Holy Spirit,” and with “much conviction.” Thus, when the Gospel of the Word, the Power, the Holy Spirit, and the Conviction encounters faith, love, and hope, the effects are graciousness, salvation, peace, and reconciliation.
- The Gospel reminds us that we all and indeed the entire creation belong to God. Caesar might lay claims to gold and silver coins, but even then, they belong to our heavenly Father. The reason is that even Caesar belongs to God and he is accountable to him and owes him his life and his kingdom.
- And for all these, the Psalmist invites us to “give the Lord glory and honor.” Yes, ours is the confession of praise unto God for “his wondrous deeds.”
Every person, and indeed all of creation belongs to God. They are his handiwork, beautiful and purposeful. It is because we belong to God that Jesus came to lead us back to him, to our heavenly Father, and to bring us to our eternal home with him. God has given us, human beings, authority and power over the whole of creation, to rule and to care for it. But how often do human beings quarrel and antagonise one another over opinions and how to exercise the dominion of power and responsibility! The supremacy struggle in the world is but a distraction from the goal of human existence. Today’s readings remind us that power belongs to God. Our peace comes from faith, hope, love, and reconciliation with God and fellow human beings. The reality in our world today is that we no longer just hear rumors of war, but there are wars. There are conflicts that are threatening the entire world. Why does humanity trust so much on their war machines rather than work for peace and reconciliation? Does humanity now love death more than life? Where are the Caesars of the world? Do they now prefer war armament to taxes to promote beauty, build infrastructure, and improve human life? What is happening in the world? Why has the rhetoric of the world turned to “war, war, and war?”
We are all God’s children. We all belong to God, including Caesar. Therefore, let the Caesars take their coins and work for peace in the world. It is this call and work for this peace that God created the world. And so, Lord, we pray, let there peace!