Sunday, October 16, 2011

What Belongs to God

Twenty-ninth Sunday of Ordinary time A

October 16, 2011

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

For the sake of Jacob, my servant, of Israel, my chosen one, I have called you by your name, giving you a title, though you knew me not. I am the LORD and there is no other, there is no God besides me. It is I who arm you, though you know me not, so that toward the rising and the setting of the sun people may know that there is none besides me. I am the LORD, there is no other. Isaiah 45:4-6

"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." Matthew 22:19-21


Our piety grows out of our response to the Lord’s calling us by name. Our piety is the uniqueness of who we are before the Lord. The victory of Christ over death and all that brings death is on our hearts in the very attraction our souls feel to the doing good and the avoiding evil. Our piety has its fullness in the loving the Lord with all our hearts, minds, strength and feelings. Such growth into complete lovers comes from the call of the divine in the creation of our world. The very groaning of our hearts for the right way of doing things is the call of the divine shepherd who reveals to us bit by bit how we can more love him in whatever we are doing. From the rising of the sun to the setting, the Lord is calling to us. Our piety makes us responsive to the call of the Lord. The love of the Lord surrounds us moment by moment in a thousand different ways and all we need to do is to hold on to the pinky touch of the Lord to have all of the Lord in our grasp. Our piety is the tenaciousness of our grasp of the Lord’s love for us.


Our study teaches us a new song of life. The melody of the Lord is learned by our appreciation of all the wonders of God’s creation around us. The glory of the Lord is the depth of our appreciation of how good the Lord is to us. Our gratitude to the Lord for all that he graces us with in friends and companions of the journey is shown by the ways we draw closer to the Lord in the people, places and the possessions of our responsibilities. We study how to be more grateful and better sing the praises of the Lord by our lives. We learn how to follow the Lord more closely, how to love him more tenderly and to follow him more gracefully.


Our work for the Lord renders to God what belongs to God and allows us to live our lives more justly by rendering to Caesar what belong to Caesar. We try to give to each person their due in how we avoid selfishness and try to be selfless in our services of one another. It is a work of artful virtue to treat others as better than ourselves. Generosity makes our love the gift of self to others. We ask the Lord to teach us how to be more generous, how to give without counting the cost. Our actions give us the greatest pleasure of life when we make Christ real in what we do for one another. It is Christ that calls us by name when we see what we can do for the poor around us. We become Christ by our need to be more generous. We imitate Christ when we give our lives for others. We love even as Christ loved us in the ever greater fullness of how we share our lives with others. We honor God with the love of Christ when we live his love to the fullest. Thus we give to God what belongs to God.