Sunday Message

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Sunday Message 22nd October 2017


seeing your life through the lens of the gospels – Matthew 22:15-21
There are two parables here that Matthew has joined together. Looking at the first one:
1. The story sees a mixture of religion and politics, a potentially explosive combination. Jesus does not ask us to avoid politics, but that our involvement in the affairs of the world be informed by the perspective of the reign of God. How does the gospel give you a vision of how your involvement in society should be?
2. Pharisees and Herodians were not natural allies but a shared dislike of Jesus brought them together in an attempt to discredit him. Perhaps you experience the same opposition in society today when you profess to being a Catholic. Jesus did not get into an argument with them but simply professed his belief in the priority of God in his life. What have you found helpful in bearing witness to the fact that you are still a Catholic?
3. Jesus recognises that we can be faced with conflicting claims for attention. He does not tell us how to solve that dilemma, but challenges us to make sure that our allegiance to God takes priority. When have you been faced with a conflict of loyalties? What helped you to get your priorities right?  – John Byrne OSA

In our work with groups we have noticed a certain tension between those who feel hopeful about the future and those who are not there and voice their lack of hope and even despair. With such groups, we have found it helpful to adopt what we call a family systems approach to hope. When trauma or illness strikes a family, hope and hopelessness are often ‘divvied up’ between family members. One parent may ‘hold’ the hope for the child making a recovery, while the other parent may ‘hold’ the hopelessness, fearing the worst. As the illness progresses members step in and out of hope and hopelessness. We find something similar happens in a traumatised organisation. Some members will be optimistic about the future and others will hold the hopelessness. It is not a question of one group being more faithful than another … Before we can recapture hope we sometimes need to be present to hopelessness and trauma. This truth is often overlooked.
– Kevin Egan and Cora Lambert, ‘Trauma in the Church’, The Furrow

The Deep End
Most of us have been raised to believe that there are two sides to every issue. So often we hear the term ‘there are two sides to every story’ or ‘two sides of a coin’ but there is, in fact, a third. A story always has your version, their version, and the truth. When it comes to a coin, there is the head side, the tail side, and the edge of the coin! One side of the coin may represent a particular point of view; the other its opposite. However, if we just stand the coin on its edge, we can see both sides more clearly and, more often than not, a third way.
What a loaded question the Pharisees’ disciples and the Herodians asked Jesus. If Jesus said the taxes shouldn’t be paid, he would have pleased the Pharisees but then they could report him and have him arrested as a rebel. If he said they should be paid, he would have gained the support of the Herodians but almost certainly lost all support from his followers.
But Jesus did not come into the world to discuss Roman taxation, temporal revolutions or political action. Neither did he come to only see two sides of a coin! He neither endorses Caesar as divine sovereign (as the inscription on the coin indicates) nor does he discourage the paying of taxes. He simply reminds his questioners that these are worldly affairs in a worldly kingdom but there is another kingdom yet to come with a much higher authority. ‘Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.’  – Julieann Moran, Society of Missionary Children

(from Intercom)


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