TWENTY NINTH SUNDAY IN THE ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A
22nd October 2023
Isaiah 45:1,4-6; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5b; Matthew 22:15-21.
Authentic Christian spirituality is devoid of confusion. Christian spirituality points the way amidst the inconsistencies of life. There is no confusion between the church and the state. Today’s gospel confirms the harmony between the church and the state. The statement of Jesus “give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God” is a Christian principle that harmonizes the demands of the church and the state is a single individual. A good citizen of the state is equally a good Christian and member of the church.
Confusion sets in when we insist on our own way and not what makes for the common good. This is clear in the unholy union between the Pharisees and the Herodians who questioned Jesus on paying taxes to Caesar. It is an unholy union because the two groups have nothing in common except the elimination of Jesus Christ who posed an obstacle to their selfish interests. The Herodians are the supporters of Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch of Galilee, whose support for Caesar is aimed at regaining the rulership of the entire Jewish Kingdom like his father Herod the Great. The personality of Jesus stands in his way of achieving this goal. The Pharisees on their part are opposed to the Roman occupation of Israel. To them Jesus is a threat to the order established in the temple which shields their corrupt practices.
If you have any sort of reservation in your mind about Christian spirituality, today is a good day to purify your intentions. The church is founded on love of Christ, while the state is founded on common good. Authenticity accommodates love and the common good.
Fr Anthony Ekpunobi, CM.