Theme of the Sunday: The Christian and the State. A Christian has the same rights as anybody else and does not claim exemption or privilege. Like everybody, we must also pay taxes. The first reading throws. Light on the relationship between faith and politics. God guides history so that everything may lead to the happiness of his people. The second reading is connected to this theme: it shows how in a concrete way the Christians of Thessalonica lived out their religion.
Entrance Antiphon Cf. Ps17:6.8
To you I call; for you will surely heed me, O God; turn your ear to me; hear my words. Guard me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.
Almighty ever-living God, grant that we may always conform our will to yours and serve your majesty in sincerity of heart. Through our Lord. .
I have grasped the hand of Cyrus to subdue nations before him
A reading from the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 45:1.4-6)
Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him and uncover the loins of kings, to open doors before him that gates may not be closed: “For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I surname you, though you do not know me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I clothe you, though you do not know me, that men may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 96: 1 and 3.4-5.7-8.9- 10a (R. 7b)
R/. Give the Lord glory and power.
O sing a new song to the Lord;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Tell among the nations his glory,
And his wonders among all the peoples. R.
For the Lord is great and highly to be praised,
To be feared above all gods.
For the gods of the nations are naught.
It was the Lord who made the heavens. R.
Give the LORD, you families of peoples,
Give the LORD glory and power;
Give the LORD the glory of his name.
Bring an offering and enter his courts. R.
Worship the LORD in holy splendor.
O tremble before him, all the earth.
Say to the nations, “The LORD is king.
He will judge the peoples in fairness. R.
Remember your faith, love, and hope.
The beginning of the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 1:1-5b)
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for you all, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father our work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brethren beloved by God, that he has chosen you; for our Gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.
The word of the Lord.
ALLELUIA Philippians 2:15d-16a
Alleluia. You will shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life. Alleluia.
Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 22:15-21)
At that time: The Pharisees went and took counsel how to entangle Jesus in his talk. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true, and teach the way of God truthfully, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it Lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the money for the tax.” And they brought him a coin. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.
The Gospel of the Lord.
“Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God”. As the Jewish officials begin to muster up evidence for the condemnation of Jesus, there is no better response given to them than what Jesus gave. But the response continues to reverberate in our hearts. It calls us to a sober reflection and self-examination; those moments where we spend the time meant for God to do other personal runs, when we refuse to contribute to parish development because of some other commitment. There is time for everything. We cannot really rob God but we do rob ourselves of some spiritual benefice when we shortchange our resources meant for worship into personal comfort. As it is said, “You cannot rob Peter to pay Paul”. What is the Caesar in your life? That bad habit, that addiction, that laziness – it is time to give yourself back to God because it belongs to God. Whatever we do in life is only a participation in the plans of God. We are vessels of God and we must return to him whom we truly belong to. Hence, we should never be lost in the crowd, advancing a ‘Pull him Down Syndrome’ forgetting that we are nothing but vessels in the hands of the almighty and should return the same to God without prejudice to other responsibilities.