Fr. Americo Santos

Homily: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 22, 2023

The common theme of today’s readings is the importance of our obligations to God and to our country. The readings show us how, with God’s help and guidance, we can be good citizens of both: earth and Heaven.

Isaiah predicts God would use the policies of the Persian Emperor Cyrus to save His chosen people, even if Cyrus doesn't know or intend it. This emperor does not know God, but all he needs to know is that God is the Lord and there is no one besides Him. Sometimes God uses non believers to do something good for other people. These people can be his instruments without being aware. That is why it is important to acknowledge how God can use them to help us when we need something.

In the Gospel, Jesus escapes from the trap in the question, Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor or not? He answers them, “Give therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s,”. Jesus reminds the Pharisees to give equal importance to their service to God and their obligations to Him, just as they faithfully pay taxes to the state. The invitation for us from the Gospel is that we should fulfill our duties as citizens of this country by loyally obeying the laws and working for the welfare of all citizens. But, in the same way or more, we should be good members of the Church and citizens of heaven.

We need to “give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”, How? We must pay for the services and privileges the government provides, such as police, fire departments, schools, healthcare and other benefits. If we refuse to pay taxes, how will these needs be met? Another way is by participating actively in elections. As citizens, we should elect the most suitable candidates for the benefit of all. Also, we should pray for our authorities to uphold the laws faithfully and work for the well-being of all citizens as human beings created by God.

We need to “give to God that things that are God’s.” How? By setting aside time for prayer, worship, Bible reading, and by teaching our children about faith and morals, so that we can fully devote ourselves to God. Also, we should donate money to The Archdiocese of Kingston through special collections throughout the year. This will help with its maintenance, vocations, missions, and other expenses. Our financial contribution every Sunday to this Parish expresses our gratitude to God for all He has given us. It is important too to take part actively in the ministries of the Parish. We have many ministries where you can be involved. This is an offering to God of your time and talents. This is another way of giving to God His due. If we recognize how important the government and authorities are for us; and give to them what belongs to them, we have to recognize even more how important God is for us, and give Him what He deserves. We have only one God. God’s image is imprinted, not on coins, but on our hearts. Let us be grateful for having God’s image in us and let us give Him our lives completely. Amen.

Also in this Mass, let us pray for the Missions in Canada and around the world. This Sunday is known as the world mission Sunday. Catholics throughout the world are invited to pray and give financial help to the missions in the world. In those places of mission, there is a strong need for Jesus, and there is a a big need for vocations available to promote the Gospel among them. Let’s pray especially for this cause in the Church.

May the God’s peace be with you all, Fr Americo Santos.