Shepherds of Christ  
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June 1, 2008

June 2nd Holy Spirit Novena
Scripture selection is Day 2 Period I.

The Novena Rosary Mysteries  
for June 2nd are Luminous.

        

Sidney Rosary will be

Tuesday, June 3rd - 6:20pm

Please tune in!

 

Rita is doing the

Retreat in Florida

June 2nd - 5th

with an afternoon session at 1:00pm

 and the 6:20pm prayers every day.

 

Please help us with the Priestly Mailing.

Funds are needed.

 

 

                    Homily from Fr. Joe

 

29thSunday Ordinary Time
October 16, 2005


INTRODUCTION: (Isaiah 45, 1.4-6; Mt. 22, 15-21) The Babylonians lived in the land we now know as Iraq, 600 years before Christ. The capital city of Babylon was just less than 100 miles south of modern day Baghdad. 587 years before Christ the Babylonians conquered the Jews and enslaved most of the Jews and took them as captives to Babylon. At that time the Persians lived in modern day Iran. Fifty years after the Babylonians conquered the Jews, the Persians conquered the Babylonians. The Persian king, Cyrus, allowed the Jews to return to their Israel. He even encouraged them to rebuild their temple to Yahweh. The prophet Isaiah, in today’s first reading, sees the hand of God at work in all these events. He calls this pagan king, Cyrus, God's anointed. And although Cyrus thought it was by his own strength and shrewdness that he conquered the Babylonians, Isaiah said this was God’s doings. Isaiah stresses the absolute supremacy of God, a theme in today’s liturgy.


HOMILY: There were some scientists and biologists who thought they had found the secret of life. And they decided to tell God he was no longer needed. They said they could create life also. God said “well, I created life from a hand full of dirt.” They said we could too. Then they picked up a hand full of dirt and started to show God what they could do. God said to them, “wait just a minute. Create your own dirt.”
 
In today’s gospel, the enemies of Jesus thought they really had Jesus in trouble this time. The gospel tells us he was approached by Pharisees and Herodians. These two groups were bitter enemies. Israel was under Roman rule, as you know, and the Herodians were totally loyal to Rome. They would have immediately accused Jesus of promoting civil rebellion and revolution if he had said “don’t pay the taxes.” The Pharisees, on the other hand, held that God alone was their king and Lord and they viewed the payment of taxes to Rome as caving in to the hated Roman emperor, Tiberius Caesar, a foreigner and a pagan at that! This hot issue was made worse by the fact that Rome’s tax burden on the Jewish people was extremely heavy. Jesus asked them to show him a Roman coin; apparently he didn’t have one. The fact that they could produce one gave evidence that, like it or not, they participated in Rome’s commerce and economy. Jesus’ answer to their question is well known, “Give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God's.”
 
Jesus avoided getting caught in their trap. He reminded us we have obligations to both God and civil authority. We need good leadership in our country and in the countries of the world. With good leadership the citizenship will prosper. Without it the people will suffer. St. Paul even reminds us to pray for our leaders and obey them. (I Tim 2,2 and Rom 13). In this particular confrontation, Jesus did imply that since the people chose to participate in the Roman economy, they had obligations there. But Jesus did not answer how we are to treat some of those thorny issues that we have to deal with in a society that believes in the separation of Church and State.
 
We have to figure out most of those issues ourselves, taking a cue from other things Jesus taught us, especially from his teaching that obeying God is our greatest responsibility. When we break the laws of our country, we get arrested or fined or have to pay some consequence. When we break God’s laws, however, God doesn’t come knocking on our door ready to fine us or lock us up in jail. If he did, people wouldn’t get by with a lot of the things they do. But God isn’t in the business of being a policeman. Rather he is interested in having us love him and doing right because of love. And love cannot be forced; it must be given freely. God could have made us all robots and we would have done exactly what he wanted us to do, but if we were robots we would not be human nor would we be capable of love. When God gave us a free will, God took a big chance that we might choose not to love him. Apparently he thought it was worth taking that chance.
 
Give back to God what is God's, Jesus tells us. Because God does not come knocking on our doors when we do not give him what we owe him, it’s easy for us to say I’ll pray later, or I’ll go to church next week or I’ll be good later! Later may not come for any of us. Nothing is more important than our relationship with God. Some day we will leave behind all the other things that we think are so important, and the only thing we will have left is the love for God and for others that we have demonstrated in our daily lives. That love will grow and develop only by prayer and good works.
 
In our society, which wants immediate results, many important things in life do not give immediate pay offs. When we plant a seed in the ground, it doesn’t produce fruit the next day. If we buy stock in a good company today, it probably won’t go up 50 points tomorrow. A good education takes many years before it pays dividends. The things we do to serve and obey our God are an investment, an investment that will bless us in this present life, but the full rewards of such a life are off in the future. As St. Paul tells us “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into our hearts what things God has prepared for those who love him.” (I Cor 2,9) What God asks of us is simple: prayer, obedience, love, love for God and for each other. In line with prayer, we cannot neglect the most important prayer we have, the Eucharist. “Do this in memory of me,” he said. That’s why we’re here today, to give to God our ears to listen, our hearts to be united with him, our gratitude, our expressions of faith as we praise him and receive him.
 
We will get in trouble with the law if we do not give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, but we have the most to lose if we do not give back to God the things that are God's. Our eternal happiness depends on it. Amen.

 


 

 

 

        

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