29th Sunday (Note & Bulletin)

A few weeks ago, the Jesuits of Toronto hosted a showing of the movie “The Mission” at a local theatre.

The movie tells the story of the work of Jesuits with the Native People in South America in the Seventeenth Century. At the end of “The Mission” the Jesuits must decide what to do when confronted by injustice and violence. Some decide to fight back, to take up arms against soldiers seeking to capture and enslave the people, while the main character decides to lead a Eucharistic Procession into the mouths of the soldiers’ guns. It’s not a happy ending- most are killed. The movie seems to offer us a question: What are the limits of our faith. At what point does a follower of the Lord put aside one’s faith and engage the world with its values, its common sense and its expectations? There’s no easy answer for sure, but this week’s gospel begins to call us to deeper understanding of the way of Christ.

In the gospel, the Lord is asked whether or not it is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, the foreign occupier of Israel? Jesus takes a coin and asks the Pharisees and Herodians, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” After they respond that it is Caesar’s, Christ then says, “Give therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Jesus’ answer to the question has often been used as a justification for a separation between our life of faith and our life in the world. And yet, when we think about it, what is not God’s? I t seems then that the Lord is not offering a division between our faith and the lives we live, rather, he is, with great subtly, indicating that seeking to be a citizen of God’s kingdom is all-encompassing. In the movie I mentioned at the beginning, several of the characters were religious until “the going gets tough” and then they assumed the instruments and means of violent confrontation. When we look at the Lord, all those times when he encountered opposition, a lack of compassion, an unwillingness to forgive he always refused to give in, to lose himself, instead he simply loved.

In a similar way, we do not want to let go of our faith, no matter the difficulties of the situation; we don’t want to lose ourselves. We want to be who we are. We are friends of God and partakers in his love. Love is the only thing that moves us to a faith that is all encompassing. No ideas, no theories, no agendas can ever gently lead us to seek to only live in his heart. It is only love. As we seek to be labour with Christ is building God’s kingdom in our hearts and in our world, we are coming to know that there is never a “time-out” from our faith because there is no “time-out” from his love that is poured into us. Jesus Christ is the answer to every human longing

and dream because he shows us the loving face of the Father. He shows us that God is in love with each of us. And love simply is. It demands nothing in return but we seek to return all. Love is everything. Christ is everything.

God Bless and Take Care.

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