Saturday, October 15, 2011

Twenty-Ninth Sunday Year A; Reflections- Fr.Michael U. Udoekpo

Readings: 1sa 45:1, 4-6;  Ps 96;1, 3-5, 7-10; 1 Thess 1;1-5b and Matt 22:15-21

Give the Lord Glory and Honor!

 The summary of today’s Bible lessons can be located in the opening prayer of this mass, and in Psalm 96, particularly verse 7b which says, “give God glory and honor,’. Why?  There are so many reasons that we cannot exhaust here!  God is the source of all we have including our very existence and being. We are always his instruments- good or bad is another thing! But know that God can even right on crooked lines. God is the source of everything including civil, ecclesiastical and political authorities. These powers are meant for the common good.

The first reading of this Mass, Prophet Isaiah 45:1, 4-6 shows how God chooses  the Persian King Cyrus, as his divine instrument to deliver and save his  loving people from Babylonian exile.

Three things stand out in this reading: (a) salvation and deliverance of those in exile would be accomplished not by Cyrus but by God’s help, who “goes before Cyrus to level the mountains and shatter iron bars,” (vv 1-3a); (b) this deliverance will be accomplished for the sake of God’s people, “for the sake of Jacob, my servant, of Israel my chosen one” (v 4). Finally, (c) it will be accomplished so that all people, including Cyrus himself might know that the Lord alone is God “men will know that there is none beside me” (Exod 3:13-14).

Even when we carry out our civil duties including paying of taxes as recommended by Jesus in today’s Gospel of Matthew, our civil authorities and politicians’ today, whom I may choose to call, “Cyruses of today” must realize that God had called them by name. He selected them just as he had selected the Persian King Cyrus.  He puts them where they are, and expects them to act with equity and  deep sense of justice in distribution of goods and services to all citizens.

God wants them to have respect for natural law and fundamental human rights that touches and affects peoples of all cultures, towns, cities and villages. He expects them to promote that common good, not always their personal gains, but the ‘collective or common gains.”

You would agree with me that the challenges are still there everywhere: in our families, in our formation process in the Seminary, in hospital sick beds, nursing and residence homes- in those moment of loneliness or when we deeply feel neglected, abandoned, rejected, homeless, uninsured, insulted, exiled, I want you to know and believe that God is watching over you- to deliver you-just a little trust in Him is sufficient! He will “level the mountains” and shatter the ‘iron bars” of your life.

For our political leaders too, recent global protests in the main and wall streets, I believe are also some indication of dissatisfaction with their services. I am sure it will remind them that to whom much is given much is expected.  

Let us pray today, with St. Paul, calling to mind, faith , hope and love; that our daily lives ( and that of our political leaders ) may be guided by the  power of the Holy Spirit  to give honor  and glory to God, by the way we act responsibly and selflessly to foster common good in our neighborhood, in our faith communities, in the Church and  in the society at large.