29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

In today’s gospel, the Pharisees have missed the point.  They have present before them the long awaited Messiah and the very Son of God.  He comes in word and power to  teach and heal.  He brings the good news of  forgiveness and a new creation.  However, the Pharisees are preoccupied with trying to keep things the way they want them to be that they try to trap Jesus.  The ask ”Is it lawful to pay tax to the emperor?”

If He says yes, the people will resent Him. If He says no, He could  be reported to the Romans as a revolutionary.  Then He could be arrested and imprisoned.  His answer is to give to Caesar what is his and give to God what is God’s.

What an answer!  When you think about it, we are God’s creatures.  We are His.  What Jesus is saying to us is that we need to give ourself to God.

Jesus points out that we are Citizens of two worlds — the world we see of body and  matter, and the world that is unseen which is of the spirit. As such we have duties to both worlds—to man and to God.  Our duties to man include not only what we owe to Caesar (what we owe to our government in terms of taxes and allegiance), but also what we owe to others and to ourselves.

Besides belonging to the world we see, we are citizens of the unseen world of the spirit;  as such, we owe God praise and thanksgiving, honor and glory.  We owe God worship because He is all good and the source of all that we are and have.

However, here too we owe something to ourselves in the sense that we should pray, read Sacred Scripture, and receive the sacraments in order to develop our life in the spirit.  It is really important that we take care of our inner life as much as we do our outer life.  We cannot allow ourselves to make the same mistake the Pharisees did.  They got so caught up in their own trivial pursuits that they missed the meaning and message of Jesus.  May we always render what we owe to Caesar and what we owe to God.

God Bless

Msgr. Powell


28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The parable today pictures a negative attitude of complacency.  The wedding banquet is a symbol of His Kingdom.  Everything is ready, but when the time comes for the feast to begin, none of the invited guests are present.

It is not so much that they refused to come, they merely had more important things to do and would come later.  Since the wedding banquet was not a high priority to them and would run well past midnight, the invited guests decided that rather than cancel or postpone their scheduled business, they would attend later.

In their view, the Kings wedding banquet could wait a while, whereas in the Kings view, this party would not wait.  Basically, Jesus was telling His disciples that the Kingdom of God is a matter of urgency and top priority; it demands our response here and now, and not at some other place and time.

Unfortunately most of us do not take our Lord’s invitation seriously.  How many times does he call His people to come to His weekly Eucharistic Banquet on Sundays, only to be ignored because there are more important things to do like, playing a game of golf, shopping or sleeping a little longer.  Think about it.  How many times does Jesus invite us to become more prayerful people, only to have us turn away to our television sets for a program or a sports event.  How often does Jesus invite us to be more helpful to others, only to have us look beyond their needs to our trivial pursuits or vain amusements?

On the one hand, it is sad to see people drift through life because they lack a sense of urgency.  On the other hand, it is exciting to experience people who have a strong sense of urgency about some Holy Grail in their life.  They pursue with passion liberty or learning or love of the Lord.  We all need to recognize opportunities that may never come again and reach out for growth and greatness.

The banquet of God’s Kingdom is ready, the invitations are sent, and an RSVP is attached.  The Lord is waiting for  your answer.

God Bless,

Msgr. Robert Powell


27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The parable in today’s gospel describes God as a landowner who prepared a beautiful vineyard and gave it to His  people to tend.  However, the people wanted not just their share of the harvest, but the whole thing.  They even abused and killed the prophets God sent to help them.

Finally, in a desperate attempt to save His vineyard and His people, God sent His own Son, hoping they would respect and honor Him.  However, they abused and killed Him in an effort to seize His inheritance.

When we hear the story we first think of revenge.  We desire vengeance on the tenants.  However God chose another alternative— the alternative of unconditional love, and he is still doing it today.

No matter how far we wander away from Him like the lost sheep, he gently seeks us out and brings us back to Himself.  No matter how foolish or wasteful we have been with our lives, he is always ready to give us a new start.  No matter how hopeless or desperate our situation might become, He has already prepared a way out for us.

God calls us to be like Himself.  He calls us to follow His example.  He calls us to allow the hurts in our lives which might cause bitterness and hatred to become for us occasions for generous self-giving.

We can love unconditionally: an alcoholic in our family or among our friends; a spouse whose affection has become cold; a teenager who rejects our family  values; a neighbor or fellow worker who tells lies about us.  God calls us to allow Him to inspire us to feel beyond our own personal wounds, and reach out with compassion to heal the wounds of others who may be hurting more than we do.  By following Gods example of unconditional love, we can give new life to another person.

God Bless

Msgr. Powell