The Order of Love

October 22, 2017
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
World Mission Sunday
Opt. Memorial of St. John Paul II
The Gospel Today
Matthew 22:15-21

The Pharisees went off
and plotted how they might entrap Jesus in speech.
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.
Tell us, then, what is your opinion:
Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?”
Knowing their malice, Jesus said,
“Why are you testing me, you hypocrites?
Show me the coin that pays the census tax.”
Then they handed him the Roman coin.
He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?”
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.”

Reflection (Sem. Gerald M. Moscardon)

My father instilled in us the value of tithing even when we were kids. He told us that all of the blessings we receive come from God and we cannot claim that it is our own. So he would give a percentage of his salary to the poor and the needy usually coursed through the Church. After his death, a friend of his approached our family and told us that she was one of many people my father helped in times of great need. They had no money that time and they did not know where to go to. They approached my father being the head couple of our parish. My father only had P2,000 left from his salary, good enough for our milk but he gave it to them because they needed it most. My mother at that time was furious but my father made her understand that God will provide. God did provide because during that day, someone who owes my mother money paid her back enough to buy us milk. God is indeed gracious. He knows our needs. Now, my mother would not only give 10% of her salary to the Church. She gives more than that and she puts God first above other expenses. I admire my parents for that.

In the Gospel today, Jesus was tested by the Pharisees regarding paying tax to Caesar. Jesus knew their plot and he said in the end, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” Simple it may seem, but the content of a man’s heart will be truly tested in this command. If his heart is full of love and thanksgiving, he does not measure what is for God nor does he forget his civil duties. He just knows his priorities. God does not desire our tithes or our material offerings. He is already complete and perfect. What God desires is for us to remember that everything comes from Him and the reason we have all of these is because of His immeasurable love for us. He desires that we may be one in that love through our thoughts and actions.

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