Wednesday, 15 October 2014

19/10/14 Render unto Caesar!

Welcome back to a little liturgy.  I hope you enjoyed what you found last week.  I have tweaked a little since then.  I am hoping that the green activity section will eventually stand alone as an easy to print resource but please bear with me for the moment.  I am also acutely aware of the lack of  artwork but Rome wasn't built in a day...  

29th Sunday in Ordinary time Cycle A

Summary of Liturgy of the Word

First Reading
Isaiah 45:1.4-6
Isaiah announces that God calls on Cyrus (king of Persia) to be a protector of his people and that he will arm him.  Isaiah also reports God as saying "there is no other God besides me"  and that "apart from me, all is nothing"

Ps 95:1,3-5,7-10. R. v.7
Response: Give the Lord glory and power
(Sing a new song to the Lord)

Second Reading
First letter of St Paul to the Thessalonians 1:1-5
St Paul writes to the people of Thessalonika wishing them grace and peace.  He states how important they are to him and how they have worked hard to show their faith.  
He tells them that he admires the way they received God's news "not only as words, but as power and as the Holy Spirit and as utter conviction."

Matthew 22:15-21
The Pharisees and the supporters of Herod plot to trick Jesus into saying something bad about the Roman ruler.  This could be dangerous for Jesus as he could be arrested for treason.  They ask him if it is ok to give taxes to Caesar. 
Jesus refuses to be taken in and looks at the coin used to pay the tax. He says that as there is a picture of Caesar on the coin and as Caesar's name appears on the coin, the coin must belong to Caesar.  
Jesus says "give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar - and to God what belongs to God."  

Discussion of Readings

A key theme of the readings this week is leadership.  In the first reading the king of Persia is chosen even though he does not know God.  He turns out to be a leader who will help to restore Israel and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.  We are also reminded of the first commandment and the authority of God who stands alone. 

St Paul writes as a leader in the church to give his people encouragement.  Notice that he tells them "we always mention you in our prayers".  

In the Gospel, Caesar is a leader on earth and Jesus suggests that we should abide by the rules of the society but that we must also respect the rules of God.  He will not be caught out by trick questions.  It is interesting that his questioners say "a man's rank means nothing to you."  

Jesus is a leader and king of a different sort.  We are reminded about the moment when Pilate questions him and he answers "My kingdom is not of this world."  And at another point he states that one cannot serve both God and Mammon.

There can be times when our faith in God clashes with the laws of the land or the conventions of society.  Consider how we might face these problems. 

In all areas of our lives we have to make decisions about who we look up to and respect.  Sometimes we try to imitate the behaviour of others.  Consider how we choose people to follow in our everyday lives and in our society as a whole.

St Paul commends the Thessalonians for their "utter conviction".  What does this mean?  Do we have utter conviction?

Activity during Mass

The response we use at Mass today is:
              "Give the Lord glory and power".  

The psalmist suggests many ways in which we can do this.  Some of these ways are incorporated in the Mass each week, so that by taking part we fulfil what the psalmist suggests.

Consider how we do the things on the list below at Mass:

A) sing a new song to the Lord
B) tell his wonders to the nations and all the peoples
C) give the Lord glory and power
D) bring an offering and enter his courts
E) worship the Lord in his temple

Now match these  to the parts of the Mass listed below:

the entrance antiphon and collect

the Gloria

the first and second readings

the responsorial psalm

the Gospel acclamation

the Gospel

the homily

the Creed

the Holy, Holy, (Sanctus)

the offertory

the consecration

the Our Father

the sign of peace

the concluding rites

You might like to tick each element off as we progress through the Mass today.

We also follow the instructions in the psalm by our various actions.  

Think about what we mean when we:

come together to Church
genuflect and kneel
make the sign of the cross
receive Holy Communion
walk in a procession

Other activities and resources

Look at the accounts of the same incident in the other two synoptic Gospels (Mark 12,  Luke 20).  Note any differences and look particularly at the reactions of the Pharisees when Jesus answers their question.  

Click on the link below for a thought provoking analysis of today's Gospel.  

Interesting interpretation and picture of a denarius

Also very interesting historical and theological perspectives offered below - bit complicated for children but worth a look!  (Note the lovely Doré print and click to see more!)

Detailed information on good old Wikipedia!

Last week's question

Q.  Are the readings the same in all churches on Sundays?

A.  Each Christian church will have its own calendar for readings.  Each Roman Catholic church in the world will use the same readings on each Sunday.  This is to show unity and to help highlight the different seasons of the year.  It emphasises the universal or "catholic" nature of the church.  Some Catholic churches will use different readings occasionally if there is a special local feast and there are some churches who use a slightly different rite for their service which includes different readings.  

The readings repeat every three years in a cycle. So if you live to be 100yrs old, you will have heard each reading (and a homily on each reading) at least 33 times!  Of course, this does not apply to those people who are 100yrs old today as there was a big meeting in 1964 (called Vatican II) where the bishops decided to change the calendar and the choice of readings.  In every 3yr cycle we cover most of each of the four Gospels.  We are currently using Cycle A.

To find out more about the church calendar, look at:

This week's question

Q.  If we believe in the Trinity how can Jesus really have died for three days since that would mean that God died?

Log on next week for some ideas about an answer!

Wishing you all a happy week!


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