'To love God and love your neighbor' – this is one of the most attractive of the sayings of Jesus. It is an encouragement to live fully, with what brings the greatest joy in life – true love of God and the neighbor. It is at the heart of good religion, and what attracts many to Jesus. Jesus' life was to propose good religion and to live by it.
We admire those who give energy in love and service. We are proud of people we know whose lives make a great and good difference to others. We know that our family and neighborhood, parish and school, workplace and leisure time have been enriched by the self-sacrificing love of many people, young and old. He gave all he got – we say that at the end of a match of a good player. May we give all we have in our lives, giving in love, knowing that all we give, is itself a gift from God, the giver of all good gifts. Christ affirms the truth of the prophets: to love God and neighbor.READ MORE
Rendering anything to Caesar gave him some degree of homage. This is one reason many pharisees objected to paying the census tax. Since it was such a sticky issue, they wanted to get Jesus trapped into taking a side on it. Despite Jesus' very straightforward answer, people still get sticky over it today.
Jesus answers his challengers with his own challenge. The pharisees were looking for an "either or" answer, Jesus made clear that a "both and" answer is required. "Render to God whatever belongs to God". The Roman coin bore Caesar's image and inscription. But, we human beings bear the image of God. We must, therefore render ourselves to Him. But how?READ MORE
The banquet is the symbol of the happiness and joy present in the kingdom of God. The first reading tells us of a promise; while the gospel tells us of its actualization. If the banquet has already begun with the coming of the Messiah, why do we still have so much hatred, so many wars and deaths all over the world? Yes, the feast has begun, but the kingdom is still awaiting its full attainment.
The second reading is connected with this theme. We are given the example of the community at Philippi where there is authentic love and where a completely new life has really begun; the help and the gifts sent to Paul are proof of this. The prophet Isaiah would say: this banquet is a type of the heavenly banquet and of the Eucharist by which one is nourished with the Body and Blood of Christ.READ MORE
The readings today are about the vineyard of the Lord. In the first reading we hear about the vineyard being planted with the "choicest vines", the best vines, but when it came time to harvest, to pick the crop of grapes, it yielded wild grapes, bad fruit. The Prophet Isaiah is pointing out to Israel that they are the wild grapes, the bad fruit. Israel has not been true to her calling to witness to the nations of the One true God.
In the gospel reading the owner of the vineyard leases his vineyard to tenants. When it is time for harvest, time for the owner to collect his produce, he sends his servants to collect, and the tenants, the workers in the vineyard, beat, kill, and stone the servants. This happened twice. Finally, he sent his son, and they killed him.READ MORE
Ezekiel’s prophesy in the first reading teaches us the possibility of pardon through repentance forone’s accumulated evils. God glories in forgiving those who turn back to him, and he ardently desires the salvation of all, but also the risk of losing all the good one has done by returning to doing evil. In the second reading, Paul writing to Philippians encouraged them to be united andshow their love for each other through humility and service. Christ, who is divine, became man inorder to suffer and die for our salvation. No act of humility on our part can ever rival the humiliation of Christ’s suffering and death on the Cross. Christ willingly took on the role of a servant and allowed himself to be crucified for our sake even though he was innocent of any sin. Then in the gospel of Matthew, the parable teaches us that promises can never take the place ofperformance, and fine words are never a substitute for fine deeds.READ MORE