29th Sunday of Year A

QPosted on: Tue Dec 11, 2012

6Duration: 5:00 mins

"Jesus's answer does not imply that the things of Caesar and the things of God are two separate worlds, as if Christians should remain totally detached from politics. On the contrary, when Caesar (whoever he is) acts unjustly towards his people and interferes with the work of salvation, then Christians have a right and a duty to protest. In the late 4th century, for example, St Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, wrote a respectful but forceful letter to the Emperor Theodosius, after the Emperor had ordered the massacre of several thousand citizens of the town of Thessalonica. Bishop Ambrose told the Emperor that, in the sight of God, he dared not offer Mass if the Emperor intended to be present. Referring to the Emperor's presence at Mass, Bishop Ambrose wrote: "Is that which is not allowed after shedding the blood of one innocent person allowed after shedding the blood of many? I do not think so." Fortunately St Ambrose succeeded in shaming the Emperor into repentance for his crime and the Church, in turn, offered a way of reconciliation, since the Church, we should always remember, is a hospital for sinners. .. This case of St Ambrose confronting Caesar shows that although the state is a natural good it cannot determine the nature of good. Furthermore, it is both a right and duty, while respecting civil authority, to confront that authority when it turns to evil."

Readings: Gospel - Matthew 22: 15-21 - Knowing their malice, Jesus said, "Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? 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."

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