The 13th Sunday After Pentecost
(Matthew 21: 33-42 – A trap for Jesus)
I remember once being told that, on becoming a Christian, the last thing to be converted is your wallet! For many people money and finances are considered to be very personal and of course we often hear the misquoted 1 Timothy 6:10, “the love of money is the root of all of evil”.
But what do we really know about money?
For instance, did you know that Pound sterling is the world's oldest currency still in use. That most banknotes contain traces of cocaine. With so much anxiety about hygiene and cleanliness, did you realise that the average European banknote is home to 26,000 colonies of bacteria. Perhaps you think that the penny in your pocket isn't worth very much? Uzbekistan's tiyin is worth around 3,000 times less than a British penny.
How about this one! Did you know that one can arrange the newer 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p and 50p coins to reveal an esoteric shield design that mimics the coat of arms on the £1 coin? This clever feature was created by designer Matthew Dent in 2008.
It would be easy to think that our Gospel reading was about money and whether the Jews should pay taxes to the Roman authorities. The Pharisees and the Herodians anticipated that Jesus would oppose the tax, their purpose being to hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. The questioners flattered Jesus by praising his integrity, impartiality, and devotion to truth. Then they asked him whether or not it is right for Jews to pay the taxes demanded by Caesar. Jesus first called them hypocrites and then asked one of them to produce a Roman coin that would be suitable for paying Caesar's tax. One of them showed him a Roman Coin (a denarius, and he asked them whose head and inscription were on it. They answered, "Caesar's," and he responded: "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's". The questioners “marvelled"; unable to trap him any further, and being satisfied with the answer, they went away.
Because the denarius bears the image of Caesar it is right and proper to give it to Caesar.
What if we extend this same principle to ourselves, we each bear the image of God; we therefore belong to God. So, what does that require us to render to God?
The answer of cause is EVERYTHING! God is Lord over all!
Interestingly; the value of 6,000 denarii was equal to one talent. A talent being a unit of weight of approximately 80 pounds (36 kg), and when used as a unit of money, was valued for that weight of silver.
Now, we may not possess denarii but we each have a few ‘talents’, natural aptitude or skills; talents that we can offer for the service of our Lord. But, perhaps more importantly, we each have many gifts. As the Dutch Catholic priest, professor, writer and theologian, Henri J.M. Nouwen reminds us these gifts are how we express our humanity, they are a part of who we are; friendship, kindness, patience, joy, peace, forgiveness, gentleness, love, hope, trust and many, many more. These are true gift; gifts that have the power to bring healing to the deepest hurts.
However, A gift only becomes a gift when it is received and accepted by another and we can be sure that anything that we offer to our Lord with love and faith will be received “ …and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” [Luke 6:38]
With prayer and love in XC
Caesar's Coin, by Peter Paul Rubens (1612-1614)
This mainly contains homilies and messages from our priests, although there is some scope to share thoughts and interesting articles which we may want to share with others