Sunday, October 19, 2014
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Isaiah 45:1, 4-6
2nd Reading: 1st Thessalonians 1:1-5
Gospel: Matthew 22:15-21
The Pharisees went out and took counsel on how they could trap Jesus with his own words. They then sent their disciples with the members of Herod’s party for this purpose.
They said to Jesus, “Master, we know that you are an honest man and truly teach God’s way; you are not influenced by others nor are you afraid of anyone. Tell us, then, what you think: is it against the Law to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
But Jesus understood their evil intent, and said to them, “Hypocrites! Why are you testing me? Show me the coin with which you pay the taxes.”
They showed him a denarius, and Jesus said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose name?” They answered, “Caesar’s.” Then Jesus replied, “Therefore, return to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
A group of children was asked to define hypocrisy. Here is the winning answer: Hypocrisy is when my elder brother investigates me about the missing onion cookies, when in fact his mouth is still sugary because he also helped himself of my booty because he also loves onion cookies”. The answer was well crafted. How hypocrite that person is whose mouth assails an anomaly even as the same mouth bears the signs of participation in the anomaly being assailed! This winning answer takes us to the core of today’s Gospel message.
The Pharisees were trying to entrap Jesus with a question on payment of taxes. Expecting Jesus to be a faithful tax payer (as indeed he was) they were ready to assail him for this manifestation of support for the Roman colonizers. “Show me the coin with which you pay the taxes,” Jesus said. They naively took a coin from their pockets, thereby admitting that they too were tax payers and that they were keeping Roman coins instead of Jewish ones. The Roman coin, by the way, had the image of Caesar engraved, and it was forbidden for Jews to deal with any engraved images because it was considered idolatry at that time.
Hypocrisy is the opposite of sincerity. Sincerity comes from the Latin compound “sine” (without) and “coera” (wax). Wax, up to our time, is used to make a dead person appear uncorrupted. A waxed corpse appears like it is a sleeping person when in fact decay could have very well commenced under the wax. A waxed person is a hypocrite. But waxes can melt under heavy pressure and high temperature. Pressured by Jesus’ wit, the wax of the Pharisees melted eventually exposing their hypocrisy.
Sincerity is an issue of justice. If we have to give to God what belongs to God and to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, then we just have to be as we are. The texting generation will like this slogan: “B S U R S I M I M” (read: Be as you are as I am I am). In a word, let’s shun hypocrisy, especially as the child described it in relation to his favorite onion cookies. But forget about the cookie, just remember the onion. No matter how you skin an onion, it is still an onion, and it remains an onion down to its core. Like onions not masquerading as cookies, let us be as we are down to the core: creatures after the image and likeness of God. – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.frdan.org.
Prayer for the day: God our Father, inculcate in us the sense of justice so that we may render to you what belongs to you, and to our fellowmen what is due them through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINT OF THE DAY: St. Isaac Joques and Companions, Martyrs of the 17th
Century. They were French Jesuits who were among the missionaries who
preached the Gospel to Huron and Iroquois Indians in the United States
and Canada. His companions were John de Brebeuf, Charles Garnier,
Anthony Daniel, Gabriel Lallemant, Noel Chabanel, John de Lalande and
Rene Goupil. These men had worked hard to bring the natives of that
region to true faith. At different times they were imprisoned,
tortured, and beheaded. They were beatified on June 21, 1925 and
canonized in 1930 by Pope Pius XI.