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Our Lady of Victory / St. Malachy
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Our Lady of Victory
490 Charles Street
Gatineau, Qu?bec
J8L 2K5

Mass:     Sunday   9:00 AM
            Thursday 10:00 AM

St. Malachy
3889 Route 315
Mayo, Qu?bec
J8L 3Z8

Mass: Saturday 7:00 PM







Fr. Albanus' Reflections on the Sunday Liturgy - 18 October 2020 - 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time

“Give to Caesar and to God”

First Reading:
Second Reading:
Isaiah 45.1,4-6
Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength
1 Thessalonians 1.1-5ab
Matthew 22.15-21
Today’s readings speak of the nature of our obligations to God and to our country. They show us how, with God’s help, we can be ideal citizens of both earth and Heaven. In the first reading, the Prophet Isaiah foretells how, indirectly, the policies of the great Persian Emperor Cyrus would help God's saving plan for His chosen people. Enlightened by the Lord, the Prophet discovers beyond the political events that God has a plan for salvation. As he entered Babylon, Cyrus freed all prisoners and allowed the slaves to return home. As a wise and generous King, he allowed each person to practice his/her religion freely and even helped to reconstruct the temples destroyed by the Babylonian soldiers. Cyrus, according to the Prophet, was fulfilling the project of salvation prepared by the Lord. He was an instrument of salvation in the hands of the Lord. In the second reading, Paul praises the Thessalonian converts for their fidelity to God and to Christ His Son, and for their practice of the virtues of faith, hope and charity with the help of the Holy Spirit.

The Gospel presents the encounter between Jesus and the delegation of the Pharisees made up of their disciples and the Herodian’s. The Pharisees resented paying taxes to a foreign king as an infringement of the divine right of God. The Herodian’s, on the hand, were supporters of Herod the Great and his family, so favoring collaboration with the Romans and paying taxes to Caesar. The Pharisees and the Herodian’s are united in their common desire to eliminate Jesus. The delegation tries to lay the ground for the charge of treason. They question Jesus about the taxes paid to Caesar; a dangerous question. Any answer could bring Jesus trouble. If He denies the need to pay taxes to Caesar, He could be charged with treason before the Roman authorities. If He supports the taxes, he will attract the anger of the majority of His fellow countrymen. Beside the economic import of the question, it all has a religious implication. The coins used to pay the taxes bear the image of the emperor, violating for many pious Jews, the Mosaic prohibition against images. Aware of the trap and malice, Jesus does not answer the original question, but makes an announcement; “Give…to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”, one that has received varied interpretations.

One thing should be pointed out: faith cannot be lived in a way that is unrelated to the reality of this world. Religion affects all the options of the human person and all the moments of the person’s life; thus it necessarily influences political options and the fulfillment of duties as a citizens. Give back to Caesar: if one keeps in one’s pocket Caesar’s coin, it means that one uses it and thus recognizes the Roman power. One cannot invoke religion only when it is time to pay taxes. It is a moral as well as a civil duty to contribute to the common good through the payment of just taxes (Fernando Armellini, Celebrating the Word, p. 281). Christians, as citizens of the country, ought to pay for the services and the privileges that government provides, like paved roads, police and fire departments, banks, schools and other necessities. The Christian has to be an exemplary citizen. Give back to God: One may ask “what”. Is there anything that does not belong to Him? No. So we must give everything to Him. But how? Just as the coin has to be returned to his owner, the emperor, because it bears his image, so we must return to God the creature that bears His image. What creature? Man. Genesis says “God created man in the image of Himself, in the image of God He created him” (Gen. 1:27). So man is the creature that cannot be under the ownership of anyone else but God. Nobody has a right to dominate us, enslave us and oppress us. We are sacred, we belong to God.

Since God has dominion over the whole of creation, Caesar’s relative power is subservient to the ultimate power of God. All authority and power have to be evaluated in the light of God’s plan. Jesus’ reply includes the fact that it is for the people to evaluate whether in demanding taxes; Caesar is reflecting the things of God. The political arena is not a territory protected from religious evaluation and criticism. If Caesar is subservient to God, then his laws are open to Christian evaluation. Christians should therefore rise up to criticize, contest, and discuss with whoever fails to respect the image of God in every person. Since everything is God’s, we must give ourselves to Him 100%, not just 10% on Sundays. We should be generous in fulfilling our Sunday obligations and find time every day for prayer and worship in the family, for the reading of the Bible and the proper training of our children in faith and morals. Our contribution to the parish Church should be an expression of our gratitude to God, giving back to God all that He has given us. Active participation in the various ministries of the parish is an offering to God of our time and talents, yet another way of giving to God His due, our whole self.

Happy Sunday!


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490 Charles Street • Gatineau • Québec • J8L 2K5
Telephone: (819) 986-3763
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