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Twenty-ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Cycle A

17 October 2011

Reflecting on Matthew 22:15-21

The Tribute Coin (Reubens, c.1612)

Every once in a while Jesus says something very funny, and today’s Gospel gives us one of his best zingers.  Cultural historian John Pilch points out that when Jesus says “Show me the coin that pays the Temple tax” he’s setting a trap that the Pharisees and Herodians never see coming until they’ve fallen right into it.

Since the denarius used for paying taxes bore the image of the emperor Tiberius (and the inscription identified him as the son of the “divine Augustus”) even having this coin in one’s possession was shameful.  But somehow those ever-observant Pharisees had the coin right there.  Can’t you just see Jesus given them the “Oh, well isn’t THIS interesting” look?

So they must already have been a little cowed when he took the sacrilegious coin from them and asked them whose image and likeness it bore.  Caesar’s, of course.  And then I imagine him asking “And whose image and likeness do YOU bear?” God’s, of course.  So live in that freedom.

“The world may have our hands, but God has our hearts” (Abraham Heschel).

In what ways do you see the image of God in those around you?

What would YOU like to say about this question, or today’s readings, or any of the columns from the past year? The sacred conversations are setting a Pentecost fire! Register here today and join the conversation.

I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Ordinary Time - Cycle A

2 Comments to “Twenty-ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Cycle A”

  1. Most of the people I encounter every day are trying so hard to prove something about themselves or to hide something else, it’s almost impossible to see God in them. The self-absorption of this culture obscures God.

    When I am privileged on Tuesday mornings to provide a Communion Service to the elderly in a local assisted living/nursing/hospice residence, I see God in all the faces there. These people are beyond needing to prove anything to anyone. They are what they are, and their faces reflect the image of God.

    Likewise, when I get to spend time with my grand-niece and grand-nephew, I see God reflected in their faces. They haven’t reached an age yet, although my grand-niece is quickly approaching, when they need to show the world that they are “somebody.” Their innocence and self-acceptance are so wonderful to observe.

    Too many people put on a persona rather than taking a risk of showing others who they are. It is difficult to find the person much less God in those folks.

    http://www.todaysepistle.com

  2. there was a period of time in my spiritual growth when I purposely sought to see the God/Christ in others. My experience at that time made me realize that to see Christ in others, it was necessary to find the Christ in myself. This was probably one of the most difficult steps in the transformative process for me, but also one of the most rewarding as Christ has revealed himself to me through others at the most unexpected times, and in the most unexpected people and places. The most memorable was at a midnight mass years ago, when a woman next to me shared the sign of peace. I didn’t know her, but for some reason her face and hands reflected Christ to me like a lightening bolt. When I attempted to let her know about this experience after mass she had disappeared, and it is an experience that is stuck in my memory, and gratitude, all this time. Some experiences are more powerful than others, and maybe that’s the times when my awareness of my own Christ within is most acute. Women in prison, the homeless, the addicted and afflicted always reflect God’s presence for me, as well as many of my great friends.

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