Categories
Sunday

Paying Taxes to the Emperor

Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?
Knowing their malice, Jesus said, “Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? Show me the coin that pays the census tax.” Then they handed him the Roman coin. He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” They replied, “Caesar’s.” At that he said to them, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” (Matthew. 22:17-21.)

At this point the disciples of the Pharisees, together with the Herodians, try to entrap Jesus by their question about the payment of taxes.

Matthew sets up an unusual partnership between the Pharisees and the Herodians. The Herodians were supporters of Herod Antipas, a Jewish political leader who collaborated with the Romans. Such collaboration would have required a compromised observance of the Mosaic Law. The Pharisees, on the other hand, taught scrupulous observance of the Mosaic Law and opposed Roman occupation. Herodians favored the payment of taxes; the Pharisees opposed it. The Herodians and the Pharisees approach Jesus, asking that he take sides in their dispute. If Jesus answers with the Pharisees, he shows himself to be an enemy of Rome. If he answers with the Herodians, he offends popular Jewish religious sensibilities.

Jesus’ response to this attempt to trap him exposes the guile of his questioners. From his first words to them, Jesus shows that he is very much aware of what they are trying to do. He asks to see a Roman coin, which is readily provided to him. It may have come from the hand of a Herodian, but the Pharisees show themselves to be quite willing to accept this compromise. Jesus has already exposed the Pharisees as hypocrites.

Jesus takes his response one step further. He asks that his questioners examine the coin. Agreeing that it is Caesar’s image on the coin, Jesus tells them that it must belong to Caesar. Avoiding the question of lawfulness altogether, Jesus answers their question with simple logic. Then, going further still, Jesus tells them that their obligation is to pay to God that which belongs to God.

Jesus’ response to the Herodians and Pharisees suggests the ethic that Christians ought to adopt. It reminds us of the importance of keeping things in their proper perspective. Do we attach ourselves to worldly things at the expense of the love and honor that we owe to God?

Loyola Press – Sunday Connection

Sunday Resources

Live Online Mass (for those who can’t attend)

Recorded Sunday Mass (Fr. Mike Schmitz)

Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermon (Does It Matter What You Believe?)

Categories
Sunday

The Parable of the Wedding Feast

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people
in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come.” (Matthew. 22:1-3).

In the parable of the wedding feast, Jesus offers an image of the kingdom of heaven using the symbol of a wedding banquet. In today’s first reading from the prophet Isaiah and in today’s psalm, the Lord’s goodness is evident in the symbol of a feast of good food and wine. Jesus’ listeners would have been familiar with the image of a wedding feast as a symbol for God’s salvation. They would consider themselves to be the invited guests. Keeping this in mind helps us to understand the critique Jesus makes with this parable. The context for this parable is the growing tension between Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders in Jerusalem. This has been the case for the past two Sundays and will continue to be true for the next several weeks.

The parable Jesus tells is straightforward. The king dispatches his servants to invite the guests to the wedding feast that he is planning for his son. The listeners would have been surprised to learn that the first guests refused the invitation. Who would refuse the king’s invitation? A second dispatch of servants follows. Again to the listeners’ great surprise, some guests ignore the invitation. Some of the invited guests even go so far as to mistreat and kill the servants. The king invokes his retribution against these murderers by destroying them and burning their city.

With the invited guests now deemed unworthy to attend the king’s wedding feast, the servants are sent to invite whomever they can find. The guests arrive, but it appears that accepting the king’s invitation brings certain obligations. The guest who failed to dress in the appropriate wedding attire is cast out of the feast. We are reminded that while many are invited to the kingdom of heaven, not all are able to meet its requirements. God invites us to his feast, giving us his salvation. Yet he asks us to repent for our sins.

Loyola Press – Sunday Connection

Sunday Resources

Live Mass to watch online
Mass at St. Mary’s (Recorded)
Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermon
Father Goring’s Mini Homily

Categories
Sunday

The Parable of the Tenants

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures:
‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes’?

Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.” (Matthew. 21:42-43).

In today’s Gospel, Jesus once again speaks to the priests and elders with a parable. In this parable, the landowner leases his vineyard to tenants and sends his servants to collect the portion of the harvest that the tenants owe to him. Several times the servants are sent to collect payment, and each time they are beaten and killed by the tenants. Finally, the landowner sends his son to collect his rent. The tenants, believing that they will inherit the vineyard if the landowner dies without an heir, plot together and kill the landowner’s son.

After telling the parable, Jesus questions the chief priests and elders about what the landowner will do to the wicked tenants. They all agree that the landowner will kill the wicked tenants and give the land to new tenants who will pay the rent.

In telling the parable, Jesus is clearly drawing upon Isaiah 5:1-7, which is today’s first reading and one that the priests and elders would have known well. Jesus doesn’t, therefore, have to explain the symbolism of the parable; the Pharisees would have understood that the vineyard represented Israel, the landowner represented God, the servants represented the prophets, and the bad tenants represented the religious leaders. Yet Jesus nonetheless explains the meaning of the parable for his audience: the Kingdom of God will be taken from the unbelieving and given to the faithful. The chief priests and elders have condemned themselves with their answer to Jesus’ question.

Loyola Press – Sunday Connection

We can draw from today’s gospel that we all have our own vineyards given to us from God. We should always welcome Jesus into our vineyards and be welcoming since they are gifts to us. Learning from the parable, we should fight against our own wishes of selfishness and work harder towards the loving will of the Lord.

Sunday Resources

Find a live Mass to watch online: mass-online.org

Recorded Mass with Fr. Mark Goring

Mini Homily with Fr. Mark Goring

Bishop Barron- Key to Human Flourishing

Categories
Sunday

The Parable of the Two Sons

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

As followers of Jesus, we should try to avoid being indifferent or think we are better than others. We can’t allow ourselves to think we are better people than those around us, for it is better to be humble and work on our own mistakes than to constantly point out the mistakes of others.

When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him.

Matthew 21:32.

The context for today’s Gospel is the mounting tension between Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders. Jesus has entered Jerusalem and overturned the money changers’ tables in the Temple. Jesus has caught the attention of the religious authorities; the chief priests and elders question Jesus about the source of his authority. Jesus refuses to name for these religious leaders the source of his authority. Instead, he questions the priests and elders through the parable we hear in today’s Gospel. The answer given by the religious leaders is correct, but it convicts them for their failure to heed the call of John the Baptist and for their inability to recognize the Kingdom of God.

Jesus could ask us the same question. Do our words indicate our obedience to God? If not our words, do our actions? God desires a full conversion of heart, that our actions (and our words as well) will give evidence of our love for God.

Loyola Press – Sunday Connection

Sunday Resources

Online Mass: mass-online.org

Recorded Mass for today: St. Mary’s Parish in Ottawa

Categories
Sunday

The Workers in the Vineyard

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In today’s readings, God reveals to us His mercy and that we must not determine how much of His love that we deserve compared to others. His way is not our way, and we must worry about our own salvation while also loving those around us.

On the surface, the parable of the workers in the vineyard appears to be an offense to common sense. Those who work a longer day ought to be paid more than those who work just an hour or two. When viewed in this way, the landowner seems unfair. That is because we are reading into the parable our own preconceived notions of how fairness and equality should be quantified.
A close read shows us that the landowner paid on the terms that were negotiated. The landowner, it seems, has acted completely justly. The parable goes beyond that, however, and we come to see that the landowner is not simply just, he is exceptionally just. He is radically just. He has given those who labored in the field for a full day their due pay. But he has also given a full-day’s wage to those who worked only a single hour. No one is cheated, but a few receive abundantly from the landowner just as we receive from God more than what is merely justifiable or due. God, like the landowner, is radically just and abundantly generous. The workers who complain are made to look foolish as they lament the fact that landowner has made all workers equal. Indeed, what more could one ask for than to be treated as an equal at work or anywhere else?
The parable reminds us that although God owes us nothing, he offers abundantly and equally. We are occasionally tempted to think that our own actions deserve more reward, more of God’s abundant mercy, than the actions of others. But God’s generosity cannot be quantified or partitioned into different amounts for different people. When we think that way, we are trying to relate to God on our terms rather than to accept God’s radically different ways.

Loyola Press – Sunday Connection

Sunday Resources

Live Mass mass-online.org

Mass- Fr. Mark Goring (41min)
https://youtu.be/8Oqmzo7xzvM

Mass- Fr. Mike Schmitz (47min)
https://youtu.be/MeYG-h6njmg

Bishop Barron- Why does God allow suffering? (14min) https://youtu.be/3-S_gOsm7CE

Categories
Sunday

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant.

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

A few other servants tell the merciful king about the actions of the unforgiving servant. The king punishes the servant because he refused to show the kind of mercy he had himself received from the king. Jesus concludes by indicating that this is how it will be with God and those who refuse to forgive one another.

There is a temptation to quantify forgiveness as Peter tried to do, but Jesus’ point is that forgiveness is not about quantity—the number of times we extend forgiveness to another. In the parable the king’s forgiveness is like God’s forgiveness, and it transforms us, helping us to be as forgiving as God. The lesson is clear: If we hoard God’s mercy while showing no mercy to others, we risk forfeiting the effects of God’s mercy in our lives.

LoyolaPress.com – Sunday Connection

Sunday Resources

Find a Live Mass to watch (mass-online.org)!

Sunday Mass at St. Ignatius of Loyola, Montreal
St. Ignatius of Loyola YouTube Channel

Bishop Barron- Sunday Sermon (18min) https://youtu.be/RvzkgSzrjfw

Fr. Mark Goring (5min)
https://youtu.be/6kL6hkcqYEc

Categories
Sunday

The First Prediction of the Passion

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today’s Gospel continues the story that began in last week’s Gospel. Simon Peter was called the “rock” upon which Jesus would build his Church, and yet Peter continues to show the limitations of his understanding of Jesus’ identity. Now that the disciples have acknowledged that Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus confides in them the outcome of his ministry: he must suffer and die in Jerusalem to be raised on the third day. Peter rejects this prediction, and Jesus rebukes him severely, calling him “Satan.” In opposing this aspect of Jesus’ mission, Peter shows that he is no longer speaking based on the revelation from God but as a human being. Jesus then teaches all of the disciples about the difficult path of discipleship: to be Christ’s disciple is to follow in his way of the cross.
Peter could not yet understand what it meant to call Jesus the Messiah. It is unlikely that the other disciples understood any better. Messianic expectations were a common aspect of first-century Judaism. Under Roman occupation, many in Israel hoped and prayed that God would send a Messiah to free the Jews from Roman oppression. The common view was that the Messiah would be a political figure, a king that would free Israel from Roman rule. This is perhaps what Peter envisioned when he was led to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. In this passage, however, Jesus is beginning to teach his disciples that he would be the Messiah in a different way.

Loyola Press – Sunday Connection

Sunday Resources

Live Mass
mass-online.org

Recorded Mass (30min) St-Edmund’s
youtube.com

Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermon
youtube.com

Sunday Mass with Fr. Mike Schmitz
youtube.com

Happy Sunday!

Categories
Sunday

Peter’s Confession About Jesus

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus commends Simon Peter for this profession of faith, indicating that this insight has come from God. Because of Simon Peter’s response, Jesus calls him the “rock” upon which Jesus will build the Church. This is a word play on the name Peter, which is the Greek word for “rock.” Peter is then given special authority by Jesus, a symbolic key to the Kingdom of Heaven. Peter will play an important role in the early Christian community as a spokesperson and a leader.

In today’s Gospel, Peter’s recognition of Jesus’ identity is credited to a revelation by God. This will contrast sharply with Jesus’ rebuke of Peter in next week’s Gospel. When Peter rejects Jesus’ prediction of his passion and death, Peter is said to no longer be thinking as God does but as humans do.

The use of the term church in today’s Gospel is one of only three such occurrences in Matthew’s Gospel. Peter in this Gospel is being credited as the foundation for the Church, a privilege granted to him because of his recognition of Jesus’ identity. The Church continues to be grounded in the faith that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Loyola Press – Sunday Connection

Sunday Resources

Live Mass
https://mass-online.org/daily-holy-mass-live-online/…

Recorded Mass (30min) St-Edmund’s https://youtu.be/8lRsO8TgFUU

Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermon https://youtu.be/OYBjxjvt6yU

Mini Homily focus on today’s Psalm – Fr. Mark Goring https://youtu.be/6fRJCphB5PY

Categories
Sunday

The Walking on Water

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In today’s readings we see God being revealed, and the importance of our trust in Him. The Lord is the source of salvation.

Jesus calls to the disciples and calms their fears. He is not a ghost. The impulsive Peter seeks proof that the person is indeed Jesus. He asks Jesus to call him out onto the water, and Jesus grants this request. Peter’s fear and doubt overtake him, however, once he is walking on the water. Jesus reaches out to Peter and saves him. When Jesus and Peter enter the boat, Matthew reports that the wind ceases, and the disciples confess that Jesus is the Son of God.

Faith in Jesus will enable the disciples to do the work that Jesus has done. Peter walks on water. The five loaves and two fish feed a multitude of people. The disciples can and will participate in the work of the kingdom of heaven. When Peter fears and doubts the person of Jesus, however, he falters. Peter’s example teaches us that true Christian ministry emerges from the faith that Jesus is the Messiah, God’s only Son.

Loyola Press – Sunday Connection

Sunday Resources

Live Mass
mass-online.org
Recorded Mass – Fr. Mike Schmitz
youtube.com (Ascension Presents)
The Worst of Religion, the Best of Religion – Bishop Barron
youtube.com (Bishop Robert Barron)
Mini Homily – Fr. Mark Goring
youtube.com (Father Goring)

Categories
Sunday

The Feeding of the Five Thousand

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

A huge crowd is listening to Jesus preach, and they of course become hungry after a long day in the deserted place. The Lord asks the disciples what they have, it isn’t much, but through the power and love of God, everyone is fed. We can relate to this reading today by giving up the little we have to God and allowing Him to help us.

Upon hearing the news of the death of John the Baptist, Jesus seeks to withdraw, but the crowds follow him. Jesus reaches out to them in compassion and heals the sick. At the end of a long day, the disciples encourage Jesus to send the crowds away so that they might find provisions for themselves. Jesus again responds with compassion for the crowd. Jesus tells his disciples to provide food for the crowd. The disciples reply with a report of the meagerness of their own provisions—five loaves and two fish. The result is the very familiar miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish. Matthew’s Gospel tells us that 5,000 men were fed, and this number does not even include the women and children.
Jesus’ blessing brought abundance from the meager provisions of the disciples. In this action, Jesus offers us a sign of the Kingdom of Heaven that he has been teaching about in the parables. A feast results from the smallest of portions—remember the mustard seed and the yeast. In this miracle we witness an example for Christian life and ministry. Even the smallest of offerings can produce abundant results when placed in the service of the Kingdom of Heaven.
We find the story of Jesus’ multiplication of the loaves and the fish in each of the four Gospels. In the Gospels of Mark and Matthew, Jesus performs this same miracle on two separate occasions. The story of this miracle is an anticipation of the Eucharist in which we are fed by the abundant grace of God. The importance of the Eucharist has been a defining element of Christian life from the very beginning.

LoyolaPress.com Sunday Connection

Resources

Live Mass
mass-online.org
Recorded Mass (30min) St-Edmund’s
https://youtu.be/JFYAyzKbkZg
God’s Gift for You – Bishop Barron
https://youtu.be/MkIzVIL84c8
Mini Homily – Fr. Goring
https://youtu.be/g4w_uDSrMbY