Today is the day in which the 2014 Synod ends, I will have something on that later in the week it is also the day of the beatification of Pope Paul VI.
This week the readings get a bit political. We begin in Isaiah where we get a sort of strange reading as the Lord says to his anointed Cyrus, as in Cyrus the Great. The pagan ruler of the Persians who overthrew the Babylonians and would later on free the Jewish people was anointed by the Lord for the sake of Israel. Now this is a confusing thing for some people why would the Lord pick someone who is not a Jew to save the Jewish people. Taking this reading into consideration we need to be able to recognize that the Lord works through all people even without their knowledge.
As we reach the second reading we hear from the very beginning of the first letter of Paul to the Church in Thessalonica, this was one of the first letters that was written as well as being the earliest written New Testament book. As it is the beginning of the letter we learn that it is from Paul, Silvanus and Timothy and that they give thanks for the community and remember them in their prayers. In this introduction to the letter Paul reminds the people of Thessalonica how the Gospel came to them not only word but in power and the Holy Spirit. We should remember that the Holy Spirit is living in our midst often time we forget that the Spirit is with us throughout the year not just at Pentecost and at the sacraments.
Turning to the Gospel we have that great scene today from Matthew where the Pharisees try to trap Jesus in speech as they ask him “Is it lawful to pay tax to Caesar or not?” The Pharisees were hoping for that this would get Jesus arrested as they hoped he would say that paying taxes to Caesar is unlawful. Yet Jesus replies, “Whose face and inscription are on the coin?” Then going on he says pay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. Often time people grumble at how much the government takes in taxes, but as Jesus says pay to the government what is owed the government. The most important part of this comes at the end of it all “and repay to the Lord what belongs to the Lord.” This is something that many of us overlook in our lives. This raises a good question, how do we repay the Lord?
As we see in the readings today we are given a good leader and a bad leader but God can work through all types of politicians We must be able to live in both the secular world and pay and follow the rules set forth by the government officials but we must also live in the world of the church and follow the precepts and teaching of the church. As Tevye the milkman says, to live in both worlds we need to be like a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a tune without losing our balance. Both aspects of our lives (Politics and Religion) make us who we are and, as much as we try and avoid such conversations at dinner parties hiding a part of ourselves from people is not something that we should do.