VATICAN CITY, OCTOBER 22, 2017 (Zenit.org).- Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
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Before the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
This Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 22:15-21) presents to us a new face to face between Jesus and His opponents. The subject addressed is that of tribute to Caesar – a “thorny” question, about the lawfulness or not of paying taxes to the Emperor of Rome, to whom Palestine was subject in Jesus’ time. The positions were different; hence the question addressed to Him by the Pharisees: “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (v. 17) a trap set for the Teacher. In fact, according to how He responded He would have been accused of being for or against Rome.
However, in this case Jesus also answers calmly and takes advantage of the malicious question to give an important teaching, rising above the controversy and the opposing sides. He says to the Pharisees” “Show Me the money for the tax?” And they brought Him a coin and, looking at the coin. Jesus asked them:”Whose likeness and inscription is this?” The Pharisees could only answer: “Caesar’s.” Then Jesus concludes: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Cf. vv. 19-21). On one hand, intimating to restore to the Emperor what belonged to him, Jesus said that to pay the tax was not an act of idolatry, but an act owed to the earthly authority; on the other – and it’s here that Jesus gives the “coup” – recalling God’s primacy, He asks that He be given what is due to Him as Lord of man’s life and of history.
The reference to Caesar’s image, engraved in the coin, says that it’s right to feel oneself fully — with rights and duties – citizens of the State, but, symbolically, He makes one think of the other image that is imprinted in every man: the image of God. He is the Lord of all and we, who have been created “in His image,” belong first of all to Him. From the questions posed to him by the Pharisees, Jesus draws a more radical and vital question for each one of us, a question that we can ask ourselves: to whom do I belong? To the family, to the city, to friends, to the school, to work, to politics, to the State” Yes, certainly, but first of all, Jesus reminds us, <we> belong to God. This is <our> fundamental belonging. It is He who has given <us> all that <we> are and that <we> have. And, therefore, day after day we can and must live our life in the acknowledgement of this, our fundamental belonging, and in our heart the acknowledgement of our Father, who created each one of us individually, unrepeatable, but always in keeping with the image of His beloved Son Jesus. It’s a stupendous mystery.
A Christian is called to commit himself concretely to human and social realities without opposing “God” and “Caesar”; to oppose God and Caesar would be a fundamentalist attitude. A Christian is called to commit himself concretely to earthly realities, but illuminating them with the Light that comes from God. The priority entrustment to God and hope in Him do not imply a fleeing from reality but rather rendering diligently to God what belongs to Him. It’s because of this that the believer looks at the future reality, that of God, in order to live his earthly life in fullness and to respond courageously to its challenges.
May the Virgin Mary help us to live always in conformity with the image of God that we bear within us, also making our contribution to the building of the earthly city.[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
After the Angelus
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Beatified yesterday in Barcelona were Blesseds Matteo Casals, Teofilo Casajus, Fernando Saperas and 106 martyr companions belonging to the Religious Congregation of the Claretians, and killed out of hatred for the faith during the Spanish Civil War. May their heroic example and their intercession support Christians who also in our days – and so many – suffer discrimination and persecutions in different parts of the world.
Observed today is World Mission Sunday on the theme “Mission at the Heart of the Church.” I exhort all to live the joy of the mission, witnessing the Gospel in the environments in which each one lives and operates. We are called, at the same time, to support with affection, concrete help and prayer the missionaries who have gone out to proclaim Christ to all those who still don’t know Him. I remind also that it’s my intention to promote an Extraordinary Missionary Month in October 2019, in order to fuel the ardour of the evangelizing activity of the Church ad gentes. On the day of the liturgical memorial of Saint John Paul II, missionary Pope, we entrust to his intercession the mission of the Church in the world.
I ask you to unite yourselves to my prayer for peace in the world. In these days I follow with special attention Kenya, which I visited in 2015, and for which I pray so that the whole country is able to address the present difficulties in an atmosphere of constructive dialogue, having at heart the quest for the common good.
And now I greet all of you, pilgrims from Italy and from various countries. In particular, the faithful of Luxembourg and those of Ibiza, the Family Movement of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Brazil, <and> the Sisters of the Most Holy Mother Addolorata. I greet and bless affectionately the Peruvian community of Rome, gathered here with the sacred image of the Senor de los Milagros [Lord of Miracles].
I greet the groups of faithful of many Italian parishes, and I encourage them to continue with joy their journey of faith.
And I wish all a good Sunday. Please, don’t forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye![Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]