Gospel Reflections

29th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Matthew 22:15-21

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Lorraine Tiani

Published: October 19, 2014

Read Matthew 22:15-21

The Pharisees went offand plotted how they might entrap Jesus in speech.They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying,"Teacher, we know that you... Read More…

“I am the Lord and there is no other. There is no God besides me.”

In the first reading and the Gospel for the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, we recognize the hand of God at work at the center of humanity’s unfolding story. As we hear about God’s self-revelation to the Persian King Cyrus, we are drawn once again to the source of all Life, in God’s generous, unconditional Love.

Cyrus is anointed king in God’s plan to the agent through whom God will free the chosen people from their captivity in Babylon and will provide for them the needed resources to rebuild their lives in Jerusalem. Through the prophet Isaiah, Yahweh calls Cyrus by name and invites him to partnership in the story of salvation. Even Yahweh is unknown to him. Yahweh empowers Cyrus that he might “subdue nations, making kings run in his service…so that toward the rising and setting of the sun people may know that there is none besides me.” In this way, God challenges the chosen people to recognize Yahweh’s life giving Word and take that Word into their hearts.

By virtue of our baptism and our vocation as Christians, God calls each one of us by name to share life, love and abundance of blessings. Unlike Cyrus, we have the Word in our midst. Jesus reveals to us who God is and what God desires for our human family and for all of creation. Using the image of the reed described by Carol Houselander, God’s Spirit wants to play beautiful music through us – we are God’s instruments. Through us, God’s song bursts forth when we struggle “to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly” among all peoples with whom we share life.

In today’s Gospel, the Pharisees and Herodians, in their scheme of entrapment, appear to have lost their bearings along life’s journey. They are not able to perceive the presence of God in their midst in the person of Jesus. Seemingly motivated by a desire to retain authority and power in their communities, they were threatened by the authority and truth with which Jesus speaks. Thus their question: “Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?” Jesus responds to their question with a question of his own and leaves his listeners with the challenge to look more deeply into their own hearts. Through prayer and discernment, Jesus invites them to look for God in unexpected persons and events of life rather than in power and prestige. He calls them to find God as the Jewish people found God in the person and goodness of King Cyrus.

As we gather with others to pray, to reflect on Scripture and to discern the signs of God’s presence in our world, the Spirit opens us up in radical amazement to know how deeply God loves us and desires still to breathe Life into human history! “There is no God besides me.” Let us respond by giving to God what is truly God’s: our faithfulness, our love for one another and our sincere resolve to build God’s reign upon the earth.

As Sisters of Notre Dame, each one of us commits her one and only life to God’s project. We reflect on our 2008 General Chapter:

“We are called to listen to the mourning of our fragmented world, of those impoverished by the growing divide between rich and poor and of the sexually exploited, trafficked, marginalized and abused women and children – especially girls. We yearn to deepen our fundamental commitment to stand with our sisters and brothers who live in poverty and accompany them in their struggle. We hear the groaning of Earth mistreated and endangered by our human activity. All these cries compel us to personal, corporate and collaborative action.” (Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Chapter Calls 2008)

We participate in this mission with all who labor to spread God’s love and peace. We invite others to reflect with us and to be one with the Sisters of Notre Dame in our mission to those who suffer in our fragmented world.


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