Weekly Word

Weekly Word   

‘Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’  This pithy statement from Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel reminds us that as people of faith we can be drawn in different ways as we live our lives. We live within the world, and in the reality of the structures of the world, and yet our citizenship is in heaven, as we strive to live out our baptismal promises in our context, within the community in which we live, surrounded by those of faith, those of no faith, and those of differing faiths to us.

In each generation, we have the challenge of living and interacting with those who are similar and different to us. In each generation we have opportunities to meet ‘disciples,’ ‘friends,’ and ‘pharisees’ in our context. We are called to give to God the things that are God’s and to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s. As citizens of the places where we live, we have duty to society, to neighbour, and to newcomer in our midst. This duty involves the respect and care of those around us, and the acknowledgement that they are valued and loved, as individuals, within the community, and by God.

This week I gather with the councils of the church in Baltimore, Maryland, as a privileged guest and pilgrim. I listen intently to the struggles and joys of people of faith as they live their lives in a context that is similar, yet vastly different from my own. I am reminded that they designate each day, the things that are the emperor’s and the things that are God’s. I pray with them and spend time learning and journeying with them. In the reflections that I hear, the prayers that are offered, and the hymns that are sung: I hear a part of my story, a part of my pilgrimage. They, like me, and like each of us, are journeying as baptized brothers and sisters of Christ. They live in the world, and yet their citizenship is in heaven. They are making choices each and every day to live reflecting the love of Christ, in places where societal governance may not always reflect God’s intent.

Each of us has the opportunity to meet God in prayer. In my prayer this day, I pray for my brothers and sisters both near and far, as together we struggle to reflect the light of Christ and work to bring to God the things that are of God.




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