Index

18/10/2020-13:14

Jim Fair

Angelus: Pope Francis Comments on Jesus’ Parable of the Coin

Should the occupied people of Israel pay taxes to Caesar? That was the question Jesus’ enemies used to set a trap in today’s Gospel reading from the 22nd chapter of Matthew.

Speaking before praying the noonday Angelus with the “socially distanced” crowd of faithful in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis explained how the Lord dealt with the question — and avoided the trap of his critics.

“But He knows their wickedness and avoids the pitfall,” the Holy Father explained. “He asks them to show Him the coin, the coin of the taxes, takes it in His hands, and asks whose is the imprinted image. They answer that it is Caesar’s, that is, the Emperor’s. Then Jesus replies: ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s’ (v. 21). With this reply, Jesus places Himself above the controversy. Jesus, always above. ”

Pope Francis went on to explain that the parable has applications for today’s world.

“In this sentence of Jesus, we find not only the criterion for the distinction between the political sphere and the religious sphere; clear guidelines emerge for the mission of all believers of all times, even for us today. To pay taxes is a duty of citizens, as is complying with the just laws of the state. At the same time, it is necessary to affirm God’s primacy in human life and in history, respecting God’s right over all that belongs to Him.”

Following is the Holy Father’s full commentary, provided by the Vatican.

Dear brothers and sisters, good day!

This Sunday’s Gospel reading (see Mt 22:15-21) shows us Jesus struggling with the hypocrisy of His adversaries. They pay Him many compliments – at the beginning, many compliments – but then ask an insidious question to put Him in trouble and discredit Him before the people. They ask him: “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (v. 17), that is, to pay their taxes to the emperor. At that time, in Palestine, the domination of the Roman Empire was poorly tolerated – and it is understandable, they were invaders – also for religious reasons. For the people, the worship of the emperor underscored also by his image on coins, was an insult to the God of Israel. Jesus’ interlocutors are convinced that there is no alternative to their questioning: either a “yes” or a “no”. They were waiting, precisely because they were sure to back Jesus into a corner with this question and to make Him fall in the trap. But He knows their wickedness and avoids the pitfall. He asks them to show Him the coin, the coin of the taxes, takes it in His hands, and asks whose is the imprinted image. They answer that it is Caesar’s, that is, the Emperor’s. Then Jesus replies: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s” (v. 21).

With this reply, Jesus places Himself above the controversy. Jesus, always above. On the one hand, He acknowledges that the tribute to Caesar must be paid – for all of us too, taxes must be paid – because the image on the coin is his; but above all, He recalls that each person carries within him another image – we carry it in the heart, in the soul – that of God, and therefore it is to Him, and to Him alone, that each person owes his own existence, her own life.

In this sentence of Jesus, we find not only the criterion for the distinction between the political sphere and the religious sphere; clear guidelines emerge for the mission of all believers of all times, even for us today. To pay taxes is a duty of citizens, as is complying with the just laws of the state. At the same time, it is necessary to affirm God’s primacy in human life and in history, respecting God’s right over all that belongs to Him.

Hence the mission of the Church and Christians: to speak of God and bear witness to Him to the men and women of our time. Every one of us, by Baptism, is called to be a living presence in society, inspiring it with the Gospel and with the lifeblood of the Holy Spirit. It is a question of committing oneself with humility, and at the same time with courage, making one’s own contribution to building the civilization of love, where justice and fraternity reign.

May Mary Most Holy help us all to flee from all hypocrisy and to be honest and constructive citizens. And may she sustain us, disciples of Christ, in the mission to bear witness that God is the center and the meaning of life.


After the Angelus the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters!

Today we celebrate World Mission Day, which has the theme “Here I am, send me. Weavers of fraternity”. It is beautiful, this word “weavers”: every Christian is called to be a weaver of fraternity. Missionaries and missionaries –  priests, consecrated men and women, and laypeople – , who sow the Gospel in the great field of the world, are especially so. Let us pray for them and give them our practical support. In this context I would like to thank God for the long-awaited liberation of Father Pier Luigi Maccalli… – we greet him with this applause! – who was kidnapped two years ago in Niger. We also rejoice because three other hostages were released with him. We continue to pray for the missionaries and catechists and also for those who are persecuted or kidnapped in various parts of the world.

I wish to address a word of encouragement and support to the fishermen who have been held in Libya for more than a month, and to their families. Entrusting them to Mary Star of the Sea, may they keep alive the hope to be able to embrace their loved ones again soon. I pray also for the various discussions in progress at an international level, that they may be relevant for the future of Libya. Brothers and sisters, the time has come to stop every form of hostility, promoting the dialogue that leads to peace, to stability, and to the unity of the country. Let us pray together for the fisherman and for Libya, in silence.

I greet you all, Romans and pilgrims from various countries. In particular, I greet and bless with affection the Peruvian community of Rome, gathered here with the venerated image of the Señor de los Milagros. A round of applause for the Peruvian community! I also greet the volunteers of the Italian Body for the Protection of Animals and Legality.

And I wish you all a blessed Sunday. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch, and arrivederci!

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

18/10/2020-13:58

ZENIT Staff

Pope at Angelus Marks World Mission Day

“Today we celebrate World Mission Day, which has the theme Here I am, send me. Weavers of fraternity,” Pope Francis said today after praying the Angelus with pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square. “It is beautiful, this word ‘weavers’: every Christian is called to be a weaver of fraternity. Missionaries and missionaries –  priests, consecrated men and women, and laypeople –, who sow the Gospel in the great field of the world, are especially so. Let us pray for them and give them our practical support.

“In this context, I would like to thank God for the long-awaited liberation of Father Pier Luigi Maccalli… – we greet him with this applause! – who was kidnapped two years ago in Niger. We also rejoice because three other hostages were released with him. We continue to pray for the missionaries and catechists and also for those who are persecuted or kidnapped in various parts of the world.”

Read Holy Father’s full message for World Mission Day here.

18/10/2020-14:53

Jim Fair

Pope Francis Prays for Fishermen Being Held in Libya

Pope Francis on October 18, 2020, asked for prayers for fishermen who have been held for more than a month in Libya — and for peace and stability in the troubled nation.

The Holy Father’s comments came after praying the Angelus with the limited crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

“I wish to address a word of encouragement and support to the fishermen who have been held in Libya for more than a month, and to their families,” Pope Francis said. “Entrusting them to Mary Star of the Sea, may they keep alive the hope to be able to embrace their loved ones again soon.

“I pray also for the various discussions in progress at an international level, that they may be relevant for the future of Libya. Brothers and sisters, the time has come to stop every form of hostility, promoting the dialogue that leads to peace, to stability, and to the unity of the country. Let us pray together for the fisherman and for Libya, in silence.”

Egypt has recently taken the lead in trying to find a solution to the presence of armed militias in Libya and resolve the conflict, according to Vatican News.

At the end of September, the Egyptian city of Hurghada hosted military talks between representatives of the eastern Libyan National Army (LNA) and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), to discuss ways to unify the military institutions and deal with militias.

Russia, Italy, and other countries in the North African region are also pushing for international cooperation to find a peaceful solution to what has become a ferocious civil war between factions loyal to the UN-backed government in the West and Khalifa Haftar’s rival government in the East.

18/10/2020-08:53

ZENIT Staff

No Neutral Ground in Injustice, Says Bishop in Manila

On World Mission Sunday, a Catholic bishop stressed the duty of the Church to be the voice of the poor and the oppressed, reported CBCP News.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, administrator of the Manila archdiocese, said it is not the role of Church and Christian believers to be neutral or impartial in the face of injustice.

“There is no neutral ground in front of injustice, oppression, and lies,” Pabillo said in his homily at the Santa Cruz Church.

“We cannot be silenced because the duty of the church is to proclaim and act for truth, justice, peace, and love,” he said.

The bishop warned that silence means allowing oppression to continue and lies to further spread.

Pabillo asked the faithful to pray for the missionaries so that they always have the courage to continue the work of Christ.

“In this Holy Mass, as we pray for the missionaries, let us also pray that we may be faithful in our mission in life,” he said.

The prelate also reminded citizens that loyalty to God is paramount, and this requires giving due respect to their government leaders.

“But if this authority is no longer according to and contrary to the way of God, we must obey God rather than man,” Pabillo said.

He particularly called on public servants, including those in the police and military, to give their loyalty to God and “not to any political or military leaders”.

“When what they do or are asked to do is against God’s law, what they should serve and fear is God,” he said.