Dear One and All,
As we read today’s Gospel, we can have a sense of being alongside Jesus in the story. Knowing the kind of person that Jesus was and, and the Christ with us, it surely must cause us to take a serious look at those who hated him so much, that they were totally taken over by the compulsion to destroy him. We have seen such evil in, Afghanistan and in parts of Africa and the Middle East, and close to our own country. The quest for absolute power as a compulsion has not changed much over the years; only the faces and methods have altered in bringing it about. For those who support this kind of power, they can become frightfully vicious at the prospect of losing all they had accumulated over the years. Power can become all consuming. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
However, let us take a look at the Pharisees; in some of them there is a deviousness in their behaviour and
attitude towards Jesus, but by and large they were actually good people, in that they acted as they were expected to act, they enforced what they considered ought to be protected. Their behaviour was dictated to them by tradition and custom, and it would be really difficult for them to see themselves as being wrong. Any one of us can fall into this trap, and it can do us well to search our hearts, with the help of the Spirit, to discover
the truth about ourselves, and have an openness of mind to what new deeds, and words that God is addressing us today.
As we examine the Gospel, we can see rigidity and narrow mindedness within the attitude and behaviour of the Pharisees. This can be a trap for us too. So often, we can easily condemn people or changes in religious practice because of our own narrow mindedness, and a compulsive desire for stability, security, and a black and white format, which we think will lead us to the complete truth with absolute certainty.
We live in a world of change…change is natural! When we refuse to change, we are well and truly on the road to Rookwood Cemetery; in short, it is then a process of dying! Good changes are about growth! Wishing, hoping and trying to turn the clock back to the ‘good old days’ is not only futile, but totally stupid and unreal! We can learn from the past, and hence in our movements of growth, we can remember what we have learnt, and it then becomes wisdom, as it helps fashion the present and immediate future. If there is no change, stagnation can take over, followed by a soul-destroying death for self and a possible transference onto others. However, not all changes are good, so therefore we need to take a deep breath, think deeply, and weigh up what may be facing us. We were told years ago that modern technology would enable us to spend more time with our family and
friends. But look at what is happening; more and more demands are placed on us. The emails pour in, Facebook can call us to a life of its own, and we are sometimes compelled by our own expectations or those of others, to finish them at a cost! We can easily apply today’s Gospel to our lives, as we ensure that there is a proper balance in our relationships with God and people and state. If we look at our use of time and money, we can get the idea of the priority God has in our lives. Even if we are active Christians, we can become so busy with the work of the Lord, that we haven’t time for the Lord of the work!
Let’s go back to the Coin that Jesus asks to see in his conversation with the Pharisees; the imprint was that of Augustus Caesar. In short it belonged to Caesar……whose imprint do we bear? St.Teresa of Avila says so beautifully: Christ has no body now but yours; you are his feet, his hands, his eyes and ears. We are the living Body of Christ! Christ is as close to us now as the person near us. Remember the words of Jesus…’whatever you do to my Brothers and Sisters, you do to me.’ Remember at the conversion of St.Paul, ‘He (Saul) heard the words deep within him, ‘Why do you persecute me?’ At the final Judgement in the Gospel, we see the great sorting out process….’When I was hungry, you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me a drink…….’ The answer to the flip side of the coin is that we belong to God and that’s our foremost and primary sense of belonging. ‘I will be your God and you are my people’; this is the foundation to the Covenant/Marriage contract that the Lord God initiated with us on the Book of Exodus and again in the Prophet Jeremiah. The issue of the Coin is therefore a fantastic example that Jesus uses in the whole understanding of allegiance, especially in a post Resurrection – Pentecost Church, not only for the fledgling community, but it is for all times. Food for Thought, eh? In short it would be a very worthwhile exercise for us to examine our lives against the background of today’s Gospel.
God Bless you and your families, and may we never forget each other in prayer. Fr.Kev
FAMILY PRAYER TIME….
Preparing a simple
‘prayer setting’ does set the tone. A Crucifix, candle, and open bible on a
small cloth, with a small Vase for a Flower(s)
Leader: Formed in the image of God and living as God’s people through our mission and ministry, let us pray for the church, the world and all those in need.
That the Holy Spirit enliven Benedict our Pope, our Bishop_______, and all the baptised, that
we may be fashioned to serve after the pattern of Christ, we pray to the Lord: Lord, hear our prayer.
- That missionaries in distant lands and missionaries who serve among us may make Christ’s salvation known to all people who long for hope and joy, we pray to the Lord: Lord, hear our prayer.
- That the nations of the world may be saved from violence, discord and strife, and that leaders and all people in authority may be guided by a spirit of wisdom, we pray to the Lord: Lord, hear our prayer.
- That God may bless all who work the land so that we may have a share in the fruits of the earth and that hunger be unknown, we pray to the Lord: Lord, hear our prayer.
- That the sick may be guarded under the shadow of Christ’s wing and that their prayers for the healing presence of the Spirit with them in their adversity may be heard, ( Here is a good time to mention the names of people that you know are sick……….) we pray to the Lord: Lord, hear our prayer.
- That with all the saints we may be may gathered together at the heavenly banquet of the Lord and delight in the promise of eternal life,( here you might like to remember the names of people who have died in your family, among your friends, in our society, in the world at large…..) we pray to the Lord: Lord, hear our prayer.
Leader: Almighty God, heavenly Father, to you we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.