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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, Oct. 16, 2011

By Jeff Hensley
Catholic News Service

This column is part of the CNS columns package.

Cycle A Readings:

1) Isaiah 45:1, 4-6

Psalm 96:1, 3-5, 7-10

2) 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5b

Gospel: Matthew 22:15-21

Over the last year, I've lost, to death, two very special friends who believed strongly that the Gospel was not to be brought in word alone, "but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction," as Paul stated in his First Letter to the Thessalonians.

Both of these friends were 15 or more years older than I, but one was active in leadership in the local Catholic charismatic renewal before me, and the other was an active leader in the renewal after me. Both were fine Catholics, admired by others for their character and leadership. Each was someone to whom others turned for advice, comfort and counsel.

These two men would agree with today's responsorial psalm, which begins:

"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 peoples, his wondrous deeds."

Also, each of them, though their politics were vastly different, would have found no problem with Jesus' brilliant answer to the Pharisees' attempt to trip him up which ends with Jesus saying, "Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God."

Each of these men entered into dialogue with others in a reasonable fashion, discussing the political issues of the day and how to go about resolving them. But they also knew, given their different political bents, any resolutions of the issues of the day, other than those involving the sacredness of human life, would involve compromise.

Perhaps there is a pattern here in my two friends' lives that would help today's politicians to act a bit more like statesmen, and we, the not disinterested citizens of our nation, to act more like patriots in support of the common good rather than pursuing only our own narrow self-interests. Perhaps the key is that we as a nation have forgotten to put God first, because having laid that as the cornerstone of our lives, everything else comes into proper order.


How do you think people's faith -- whatever their politics -- might become visible in their discussion of issues with others? How might this encourage a more civil tone?


"'Whose image is this and whose inscription?' They replied, 'Caesar's'" (Matthew 22:20b-21a).


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