ü The Lord is the only God
ü The human being is the image of God.
ü All and everything subjected to the only Lord.
FIRST READING Is 45:1.4-6
o Cyrus II the Great, King of Persia, has left a permanent footprint in the Bible.
o Due to his way to govern he is called Messiah in the book of Isaiah, being the only non-Jewish person to whom this name is given.
o Cyrus is famous also for his laws that respected the citizens, the different customs and laws of the countries under his domination.
o In this Sunday Reading the Lord says to “his anointed one” Cyrus.
o God opens the doors before him, makes the way easy for him and leaves the locks unlocked.
o This said of a pagan king, but one who has known how to listen to the inner law which God has given to each one of us.
o God says to Cyrus that he has called him for the sake and love of Israel, in spite of him (Cyrus) not knowing the true God.
o God is the only God, there is no other, nobody is equal to him.
o He is the one who arms Cyrus so that he can accomplish the mission he has been called to do by God.
o Thus the peoples will acknowledge that I am God.
o What a comforting it is to realize that God calls whom he wants to give him or her a mission, and that all of us have the capacity to respond, either those who know him or those who do not know him
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 96:1.3.4-5.7-8.9-10
GIVE THE LORD GLORY AND HONOR
Sing to the Lord a new song
Sing to the Lord all you lands
Tell his glory among the nations
Among all the peoples his wondrous deeds.
For great is the Lord and highly to be praised
Awesome beyond all gods
For all the gods of the nations are things of nought.
But the Lord made the heavens.
Give the Lord you families of nations
Give the Lord glory and praise
Give the Lord the glory due his name
Bring gifts and enter his courts.
Worship the Lord in holy attire
Tremble before him, all the earth
Say among the nations the Lord is king
He governs the peoples with equity.
ü This psalm is a hymn to the kingship of God.
ü The whole of creation and the human race are all invited to sing the greatness of God.
GOSPEL Mt 22,15-21
v The Gospel that we read this Sunday is the continuation of last Sunday Gospel.
v In the rejection of the king’s invitation to his son wedding, the Pharisees and priests understood clearly that Jesus was talking directly to them.
v Jesus continues in his effort to win these men back to God, so that they may acknowledge what God is telling them through the ministry of his son, Jesus.
v What a terrible power does the human being have, he or she can reject his or her creator and Father and fight against him, while God the Father is giving life to them
v The Gospel says they left and together they were looking for ways to catch him with his own words.
v Finally they know what they have to do, they have to ask about the payment of the taxes to the Roman Empire.
v Is it lawful to pay the census taxes to Cesar, being as we are the chosen people, since our king is God.
v These men in their hatred against Jesus, in their willingness to maintain their power do not expect to hear what Jesus will ask them.
v He asks for a coin and asks this question: whose image is this and whose inscription is this?
v Cesar’s they answer him, than give back to Cesar’s what is his.
v If you use this coin which belongs to Cesar you will have to give it back to him.
v But you will have to give not to God what is his. .
v Jesus does not put at the same level Cesar and his Father, he wants to remind them that we are all the image of God which is engraved in our whole being, thus we belong to no one else, but God.
v I do not have to choose between God and Cesar, because Cesar belongs also to God.
v What a wonderful way to remind to us that we carry in us the sacred image of God, we are this image.
v This is what we read in the first book of the Bible, when God talking to himself says “let us make man in our image…”
v We are this sacred image, each man no matter who he or she is, is the image of God.
v This truth is what has to move us to proclaim with our life and our words the gospel, the good news that God, the Father of Jesus, is also my Father and Jesus my brother.
SECOND READING 1 Thes 1,1-5b
This letter is the first written document of the New Testament.
It was written around the year 51, twenty years after the ascension of the Lord Jesus, when Paul was in Corinth.
It was a very young and enthusiastic community whose basic beliefs can be perceived through the contents of the letter:
o The Trinity
o God as Father
o The mission of Jesus: Messiah, his death and resurrection, his future return.
o The three virtues: faith, hope and love.
Let us see the message of this Sunday’s second reading:
Ø Paul and his collaborators greet, at the beginning of this letter, the community of Thessalonica
Ø He encourages the community reminding them the good Works they do:
o Their works of faith, love and hope in Jesus Christ the Lord.
o He invites them to remember how they were chosen.
o Because the gospel did not come to them only in words but in powerful works of the Holy Spirit
o Since those who proclaim to them the gospel did it with enthusiasm in such a way that they could convince them.
Ø This letter is also for all of us, followers of Jesus from the XXI century.
Ø As we read this letter it is a good opportunity to look at our own community and see all the good and positive works that are done among us: what God does and we accept, thus being able to change our lives.
o As the community of Thessalonica, we have also been summoned by the preaching of those who proclaimed the gospel to us, and those who continue to proclaim it now.
o Our faith, hope and love have grown also, and continue to grow.
Ø Thus we may ask ourselves, do we proclaim to others with enthusiasm this same gospel which has been proclaimed to us? Do we invite them to participate in our community of faith?
In the room where they received us there were ten chairs and a table in the dining room. In the kitchen there was a chocolate pot and a frying pan. I was so happy seeing the house so empty, my sisters!” this was the furniture of this our first convent. On the next day they brought us food from the house of the parish priest of the most holy trinity, to whom the Archbishop had entrusted and recommended us.
Later on, we retained only one maid and we did everything with the grace of God who very soon provided us with work to earn our living with the sweat of our brow without bothering anybody else. It was a great grace of our Lord to keep our lives with so much work in so poor conditions and lacking almost all the necessary things. Everything was contributing to make heavier even the work which in itself was already hard, especially for us who are not used to do it and, above all, in so heavy a climate and the most oppressive seasons. The grace and strength God gave us was so much that I can say with all sincerity that the four of us worked more in a year than thirteen of us in four years. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 164-65
The quakes lasted from August 20 to the end of December, with a few brief interruptions--although there were days on which there were as many as five tremors. We offered prayers of supplication, and all the canons and other priests went in procession to the esplanade along the seashore where an outdoor chapel, made of posts covered by a large awning, had been set up. In the morning everyone gathered here, the authorities as well as the townspeople, to sing the litany and a votive Mass of supplication.
I preached a mission, exhorting all to penance, telling them that God had treated some of them as a mother treats a sleepy-headed child of a morning. She shakes his cot to awaken him and make him get up. If this fails, she has to nudge him bodily. This, I told them, was what God was doing with his children who were oversleeping in their sins. He had shaken their cots, beds, and houses. If they still weren't awake, He would strike their bodies with a plague of cholera, for God our Lord had given me to understand that this is what He would do. Some of my listeners resented this and grumbled about me, but in scarcely a month's time a frightful epidemic of cholera broke out. There were streets in which everyone died within two days.. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian MIssionary Sisters, Autobiography 534-35.