October 16, 2020
Today’s first reading is from Isaiah 45:1, 4-6 where God tells Jacob that he is God’s servant and that Israel is God’s chosen. By extension the same thing is true for us. We are called by God to be God’s servants! We are handpicked and chosen by God. God calls us by our name even when we don’t know that God is doing so or choose to ignore God’s voice. God invites us not to go seeking for other God because as God says: “there is no one besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other.”
Our second reading is 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5ab and in it Paul, Silvanus and Timothy address the Church of Thessalonica. They offer grace and peace to the Christians. They assure them that they always give thanks to God for all of them and that they mention them in their prayers, constantly remembering before their God and Father their works of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. It calls us to be like Paul, Silvanus and Timothy in remembering before God those who are close to us and those with whom we come into contact.
The Gospel reading is Matthew 22:15-21 and often referred to as the render unto Caesar Gospel passage. The Pharisees along with the Herodians come Jesus trying to entrap him and they ask: “Teacher… Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” But Jesus aware of their malice in putting him to the test says to them: “Show me the coin used for the tax.” They brought him a denarius. He then asks them whose image and title is on the coin? They reply: “Caesar’s.” Jesus then says: “Give therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
It is interesting to note what for Jesus makes the coin belong to Caesar? The answer is of course that it bears Caesar’s image and likeness. Interesting! If something bears the image and likeness of someone than that thing belongs to the one whose image and likeness it is. All this talk of image and likeness makes us think about the fact that we are made in the image and likeness of God. You and I bear God’s image in likeness in the very fibers of our being. But, if that is true, that we bear God’s image and likeness then we belong to God and not to ourselves!
So there are huge implications to say that we are made in God’s image and likeness because that means we belong to God. So it profoundly matters how I treat myself because I belong to God. Do I get enough rest and exercise? Do I eat healthy? Do I enjoy rich foods and drink in moderation? However, if I bear God’s image and likeness that means that those I encounter also bear God’s image and likeness and belong to God as well. So then how do I treat the people who come before me as God’s very own possession? Am I conscious that when I am speaking to someone or when I am doing something to or for someone that I am doing so to God’s possession? Am I treating God’s possession with love, dignity and respect?