October 18, 2020
The Lord God, unique and true, says, “I called you by name. even though you didn’t know me.”
Here I am, send me.
Jesus Christ, Word of the Father, tells us today:
“To God what is of God and Caesar what is Caesar’s.”
Reading the book of Isaiah 45, 1. 4-6
This is said by the Lord to his Anointed One, to Cyrus: “I have taken him by the hand, to bend before him the nations, and disarm the kings, to open the doors before him, that the portals may not be closed.
By my servant Jacob, by my chosen Israel, I called you by name, I gave you a title of honor, even though you did not know me.
I am the Lord and there is no other; out of me there is no god.
I put my belt on you, even though you don’t know me, so they know from East to West
that there’s no other one outside of me. I am the Lord and there is no other.”
Exit 95, 1 and 3. 4-5. 7-8a. 9-10ac
R/. Claim the glory and power of the Lord.
V/. Sing to the Lord a new song, sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Tell the peoples their glory, their wonders to all nations. R/.
V/. For the Lord is great, and very praiseworthy,
more fearsome than all the gods.
For the gods of the Gentiles are nothing, while the Lord has made heaven. R/.
V/. Families of the peoples, hail the Lord, acclaim the glory and power of the Lord,
acclaim the glory of the Lord’s name, enter his atriums by bringing offerings to him. R/.
V/. Stand before the Lord in the sacred atrium, tremble in his presence the whole earth.
Tell the peoples, “The Lord is king, he rules the peoples righteously.” R/.
Reading St Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians 1, 1-5b
Paul, Silvano and Timothy to the Church of the Thessalonians, in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ. To you, grace and peace.
At all times we thank God for all of you and keep you in mind in our prayers, for we constantly remember before God, our Father, the activity of your faith, the effort of your love, and the firmness of your hope in Jesus Christ our Lord.
We well know, god’s beloved brethren, that he has chosen them, for when I announced our gospel to them, it was not only by word, but also with the power of the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.
Reading the Holy Gospel according to Matthew 22, 15-21
At that time, the Pharisees withdrew and reached an agreement to engage Jesus with a question.
They sent him some of his disciples, with some herodians, and said:
“Master, we know that you are sincere and that you teach the way of God according to the truth, without you no one, because you do not look at appearances. Tell us, then, what do you think: is it lawful to pay caesar tax or not?”
Understanding their ill will, Jesus said to them:
“Hypocrites, why are you tempting me? Show me the tax currency.”
He was introduced to a denary.
He asked them, “Whose image are this and this inscription?”
They said, “Caesar.”
Then he retorted to them, “For give Caesar what is of Caesar and to God what is of God.”
On this Sunday the universal Church celebrates the Domund, a world Sunday of missions, a day in which we are invited to pray for all missionaries, to collaborate financially with our contribution and also to become aware or renew it of God’s call to us all to be his envoys, his missionaries. In fact, this year’s motto for the Domund reads like this: “Here I am, send me.” A few years ago, the Bishops of America in Aparecida (Brazil) coined the binomial “missionary disciples” to define the essence and life of today’s Christian; Last year, Pope Francis, who invited us to live an Extraordinary Missionary Month in October, reminded us that all Christians are baptized and envoys. Perhaps we are all very clear in the first part, we are disciples, baptized. We need to assimilate the second, we are also missionaries, sent; and make it a reality in our concrete lives.
Every Christian, if he really is, as we say, another Christ, if he wants to resemble the Master, is and must feel a missionary sent by the Father. Perhaps the awareness of our poverty, of our miseries, pushes us back. But it is precisely, as St Paul says, that it is from the weakness of each of us that the power of the Gospel, which lies in the Holy Spirit and not in us, poor sinners, is best manifested.
That is why we must all repeat to the Lord today… here I am, send me! He knows where, when, how, to whom… But without our yes, without our collaboration, He has no hands to heal and bless, mouth to preach and comfort, feet to reach the farthest, heart to continue loving humanity. We are his hands, his mouth, his feet, his heart.
As the text of the prophet Isaiah says, in today’s first reading, He calls us by name, takes us by the hand, even if we do not know it, and sends us with his strength to east and west, everywhere, to proclaim to all, with our word and above all with our lives, that only God is God is God , that He is the Almighty, who is close to each one, especially when the forces falter. He is the Lord.
Today’s Gospel again enlightens us and encourages us to continue walking in life as the Master teaches us, seeking truth, from sincerity, without letting us be dragged through appearances. Jesus didn’t like to play two bands, swim and put his clothes on. He did not understand of half-truths or fictitious and easy accommodations of truth that lead to disappointment and disappointment. He liked to call things by name, without pretending to like everyone. He simply lived in truth, and that is why he was someone at all times free, with a freedom imbued with unappealable wisdom and strength.
Living in the truth that makes us free is the first great teaching of today’s gospel. Jesus invites us to do so. Let us not engage in malevolent deceptions, let us not deceive anyone, let us not deceive ourselves. We can never deceive God.
Living in truth means being fair and honest in our jobs, in our businesses, giving everyone what is theirs. Living in truth also means fulfilling our obligations as citizens, paying the taxes that revert for the benefit of all, thus collaborating with the social collective in which we develop our existence.
Living in the truth that makes us free involves every morning asking us the question, looking in the mirror: Whose image is this in front of me? I am like a valuable coin that carries an image and an inscription on the heart. The image is of God, in whose image we have all been created. Registration is his law, the mandate of love. But whose am I, who do I owe, who do I belong to?
Perhaps I am Caesar’s and I owe myself to him, that is, to the powers of this world, to ideologies, to fashions, to spurous interests, to the same money or worldly pleasures that have me bound, deceived and enslaved.
There are certainly other lawful and good belongings. And I can say naturally and fairly that I owe my family, my friends, my city, my work collective, my studies, my profession, my Christian community, the people who love me and trust me, my homeland, the culture and the people where I was born.
But there is a fundamental belonging that is above all. Even if the image in me is cloudy or dusty, I can sense that that image I have engraved on me is the image of God. I belong to God first of all or anyone else. Everything I have, everything I am, I have received from Him. Only He is my God and my Lord; there’s no other. He has created me as a unique and unrepeatable being, He has given me life, He has made me his son by baptism. I owe him everything. He knows me by name and calls me every day to life and love, even if I don’t know him. Recognizing me in the Lord, looking at me in Christ Jesus, image of God invisible, is the way to live in the truth that makes me free, in the life that fills me with joy.
Giving God what is God does not mean only fulfilling Him, with His commandments, particularly the first three: loving Him above all things, not using his name in vain, and keeping the feasts holy; as if the other commandments did not affect Him. Giving God what is God also does not mean establishing a radical border and difference between the profane and the religious, as if something in the world or in life was not his.
To give God what is god’s is to realize the essence of life. That He has created us as beings open to transcendence and fraternity, which He has created for us to love and be loved, and only by loving as He loves us, we are paying off the debt, we are fulfilling the righteousness of giving him back what He has given us first; divine and human love, towards Him and to our brothers and sisters, love incarnate and committed particularly to the less kind or loved.
Here I am, send me.
Sir, I’m afraid of the unknown, I look insignificant and weak,
but I trust you, who love me and you wanted to count on me
to get to the hearts of others.
Here I am, send me.
You show me the whole Church, far beyond what I can see.
Lord, I want to help keep your gospel heal the wounded dignity of so many people in the world.
Here I am, send me.
You can make me a crystal that makes you transparent to those who don’t know you,
those who suffer injustice, pain, disease, poverty,
hunger for bread, the hunger for Life.
Here I am, send me. Amen
(Prayer of the Domund 2020)