Today’s Thoughts: Our readings today, especially our first reading from the Book of Isaiah and our Gospel from Matthew, give us two thoughts to consider as we journey through our Sunday.
In the first reading from Isaiah, God makes it a point to name Cyrus. Naming Cyrus, gave him status, credence, power and importance even though he was not part of the faith community. It was Cyrus, an outsider, who would lead the Israelite back to Jerusalem and establish them as God’s chosen people again after many years of exile.
Being named by God grounds someone in the story of faith. Remember your baptism? What was the first thing the priest did? He asked your parents, “What name have you given to your child?” And then he traced the sign of the cross on your forehead and claimed you for God.
As a person of faith, we are named and claimed by God as we begin our journey of life and faith. We have a place in the story of faith and we have a responsibility for living the life that God has called and created us to live.
This leads to our second point in today’s readings. Our Gospel from Matthew has a very familiar phrase – “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs today God.” We all know what the first half of the statement means. Whether we like it or not we all pay taxes. We all have to give to Caesar for the good of the community. Whether we are talking about our nation, our state, or our local community. For a nation, a state, a local municipality to survive, to provide services taxes in many forms must be paid. They are usually paid with money. We all know this. Perhaps we grumble about it. We look for loopholes or ways to get out of paying taxes with our hard earn money, but in the end for society to prosper we need to pay our share to “Caesar.”
The more important part of Jesus’ statement in Matthew’s Gospel today is “Repay to God what belongs to God.” What belongs to God is the 54,000 dollar question! Well everything belongs to God! Let start with life. We exist because of God. The life of our earth, the life of the world, our life is a gift from God. We owe God big time. In naming us at baptism we are called to respect life in all its forms. We are called to respect the earth, to respect the unborn and the born. We are called to respect the gifted and the non-gifted. We are called to respect the perfect and the non-perfect. We are called to respect and value everything and everyone! In doing this we repay God what is God’s.
October is Respect Life Month. As faithful members of God’s community we are called to respect all life from the moment of conception to the last breath taken. In repaying God what is God’s we are to honor life!
Have a great Sunday everyone!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...