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GOD & CAESAR

Spiritual Communion for the 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time



Making a Spiritual Communion is particularly fitting for those who cannot receive the sacrament in this time of pandemic. In making our communion spiritually, we are joining with Christians everywhere, to be nourished by the one who tells us, ‘I am the Bread of Life’. In making a Spiritual Communion, you may wish to pray all or part of the following, as you are able.

You may wish to find a space for prayer in front of a cross, a candle, or in a special place. You might choose to make your Spiritual Communion at a particular time of day. Reflect on the day and on your relationships.

- What good things have come from God today?

- Where have I fallen short?

- What might I do tomorrow?


In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Lord says through the Prophet Isaiah:

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

The god that we make of power

is a false god.

The god that we make of possessions

is a false god.

The god that we make of pleasure and the things of this world,

is a false god.

Where we have put our trust in things other than God,

let us confess our sins in penitence and faith:


I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me

to the Lord our God.


May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins,

and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.

THE GLORIA

Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace to people of good will.

We praise you, we bless you,

we adore you, we glorify you,

we give you thanks for your great glory,

Lord God, heavenly King,

O God, almighty Father.

Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son,

Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,

you take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us;

you take away the sins of the world,

receive our prayer;

you are seated at the right hand of the Father,

have mercy on us.

For you alone are the Holy One,

you alone are the Lord,

you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,

with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

THE COLLECT FOR THE DAY

Almighty ever-living God,

grant that we may always conform our will to yours

and serve your majesty in sincerity of heart.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

FIRST READING - Isaiah 45:1,4-6

Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,

whom he has taken by his right hand

to subdue nations before him

and strip the loins of kings,

to force gateways before him

that their gates be closed no more:

‘It is for the sake of my servant Jacob,

of Israel my chosen one,

that I have called you by your name,

conferring a title though you do not know me.

I am the Lord, unrivalled;

there is no other God besides me.

Though you do not know me, I arm you

that men may know

from the rising to the setting of the sun

that, apart from me, all is nothing.’

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 95 (96)

Give the Lord glory and power.

O sing a new song to the Lord,

sing to the Lord all the earth.

Tell among the nations his glory

and his wonders among all the peoples.

Give the Lord glory and power.

The Lord is great and worthy of praise,

to be feared above all gods;

the gods of the heathens are naught.

It was the Lord who made the heavens.

Give the Lord glory and power.

Give the Lord, you families of peoples,

give the Lord glory and power,

give the Lord the glory of his name.

Bring an offering and enter his courts.

Give the Lord glory and power.

Worship the Lord in his temple.

O earth, tremble before him.

Proclaim to the nations: ‘God is King.’

He will judge the peoples in fairness.

Give the Lord glory and power.

SECOND READING - 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5

From Paul, Silvanus and Timothy, to the Church in Thessalonika

which is in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ;

wishing you grace and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We always mention you in our prayers and thank God for you all,

and constantly remember before God our Father

how you have shown your faith in action, worked for love

and persevered through hope, in our Lord Jesus Christ.

We know, brothers, that God loves you and that you have been chosen,

because when we brought the Good News to you,

it came to you not only as words, but as power and as the Holy Spirit

and as utter conviction.


GOSPEL ACCLAMATION

cf. Ph2:15-16

Alleluia,

alleluia!


You will shine in the world

like bright stars

because you are offering it

the word of life


Alleluia!



GOSPEL - Matthew 22:15-21

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew.

The Pharisees went away to work out between them how to trap Jesus in what he said. And they sent their disciples to him, together with the Herodians, to say,

‘Master, we know that you are an honest man and teach the way of God in an honest way, and that you are not afraid of anyone, because a man’s rank means nothing to you. Tell us your opinion, then. Is it permissible to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’

But Jesus was aware of their malice and replied,

‘You hypocrites! Why do you set this trap for me? Let me see the money you pay the tax with.’


They handed him a denarius, and he said, ‘Whose head is this? Whose name?’ ‘Caesar’s’ they replied.

He then said to them,

‘Very well, give back to Caesar

what belongs to Caesar –

and to God what belongs to God.’




HOMILY

The annual payment of tax to Rome (expected from all citizens)

was a painful reminder of being occupied

by a ruthless foreign power.

.


The tax could only be paid with Roman coins

which were not just legal tender but also pieces of propaganda.

There on the coinage for all to see:

…"Tiberius Caesar, august son of the divine Augustus, high priest."

a statement viewed as blasphemy by the Jews, or at least most of them.

The Herodians were in favour of the tax;

after all, they were opportunists,

who saw support of Rome as a way towards them enjoying a better life.

The Pharisees were Nationalists, opposed to the tax; they yearned for an end to Roman occupation, and the return of the Jewish state.

Neither the Herodians nor the Pharisees liked Jesus.

They saw Him as politically-opposed to both of their causes.

John the Baptist had been particularly critical of the Herodian dynasty;

Jesus had been particularly harsh in his criticism of the Pharisees.

Both Herodians and Pharisees were keen to rid themselves

of this radical rabbi. So they set the trap.


The Herodians were in favour of the tax – and if Jesus condoned it then he would make himself unpopular with the people….

The Pharisees were Nationalists, opposed to the tax; and if Jesus agreed with them, then he would be condemned by the authorities as disloyal to Rome,

and would be carted off to be crucified then and there.



“Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s,

and to God what is God’s” was a masterful reply.

Caesar deserves our taxes; God deserves our worship.

Some have taken Jesus’ words to mean

“don’t mix politics and religion”…

keep God and Caesar apart.

According to St Paul, Caesar warrants our prayerful attention.

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions,

and thanksgivings be made for all, for kings and all who are in high positions,

that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.”

1 Tim 2:1-2

Jesus was a political being,

with a lot to say about hypocrisy in high places and the scandal of disadvantage amongst the lowliest.

His very birth in a stable was a political statement; and The Magnificat is Our Lady’s polemic for a new world order.

When you look carefully at the words of Mary’s Magnificat it makes “The Red Flag” sound like a nursery rhyme!

“He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble and meek.

He hath filled the hungry with good things. And the rich he hath sent empty away.”

Jesus stood for a new world order,

which required, not in government a change of political leadership,

but in the individual a change of heart and adoption of new values.

Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s:

it is our Christian duty to live the best lives we can

as law-abiding, tax-paying citizens,

rendering our best to Caesar and the State.

“Render to God what belongs to God:”

It is our Christian duty to live the best lives we can

as Magnificat Christians, paying true homage and worship to God,

living lives which honour God and which make a difference

to the world in which we live.

“Whose image is this?” asks Jesus…

When Jesus picks me up to examine me,

and He asks “Whose image is this?”

I hope He sees God’s image in me.

I try my best, but sometimes my priorities are less God, more Caesar.

When Jesus picks up the Church to examine it,

and He asks “Whose image is this?”

will He see God’s image in the Church?

The Church tries its best ,

but sometimes the Church’s priorities are less God, more Caesar.

Today we are apprehensive as a Caesar to the West of us

encourages his followers to view him as a god.

Caesar and God are distinct, but at best they should work in tandem.

The Kingdom of God will have arrived

when Caesar governs in the image of God.

May that day come.

May the Magnificat of Our Lady become reality.


Almighty Father, whose will is to restore all things in your beloved Son, the King of all: govern the hearts and minds of those in authority, and bring the families of the nations, divided and torn apart by the ravages of sin, to be subject to his just and gentle rule;

That the Kingdom may come through Jesus Christ our Lord.

NICENE CREED

I believe in one God, the Father almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,

the Only Begotten Son of God,

born of the Father before all ages.

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;

through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven,

and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,

he suffered death and was buried,

and rose again on the third day

in accordance with the Scriptures.

He ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory

to judge the living and the dead

and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son,

who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,

who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins

and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead

and the life of the world to come. Amen.


THE PRAYER OF THE FAITHFUL (Bidding Prayers)

Almighty God and Father of us all,

we bring to You our prayers for others and for ourselves.

Bless and guide Your church in our parish.

May we who are Your Church here,

and the whole Body of Christ throughout the world,

portray Your Image in thought, word and deed,

in what we say, in how we live.

Bless us as we reach out to others,

standing with those who are most in need

of Your help, love and support.

Lord, hear us.

Guide us in our relationships with others,

within our families, with friends, neighbours

and those who we struggle to love or try to avoid.

Fill our homes and communities with the warmth of Your love,

and may we learn to love and accept all.

Lord, hear us.

Pour out Your Spirit into the world,

bless those struggling with poverty and homelessness, evil and war.

Help us to reach out to those who are in need.

Lord, hear us.

Bless those who are ill at home or in hospital,

those who are feeling anxious or low;

may they know Your love and sense Your presence with them

and may we as a church reach out to them in their time of need.

We pray for our world in the grip of pandemic,

for all who nurse and who extend treatment to the suffering,

and all involved in research to combat the virus.

We pray for those who, through this pandemic,

have lost jobs and livelihood.

Lord, hear us.

Bless the leaders of nations and peoples.

Guide them in their decisions,

ensuring they work hard and endlessly for the people they represent.

We pray for countries where human rights are ignored,

where minorities are persecuted,

and for peoples held under tyranny.

Lord, hear us.

We ask Mary, Mother of Jesus

and Mother of the Church,

to offer our prayers with her own,

as we say:

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.

Keep, O Lord, Your Church, with Your perpetual mercy; and, because without You our human frailty cannot but fall,

keep us ever by Your help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation;


Merciful Father,

accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give him thanks and praise!

It is truly right and just that we should always give you thanks,

Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.

For you do not cease to spur us on to possess a more abundant life

and, being rich in mercy, you constantly offer pardon

and call on sinners to trust in your forgiveness alone.

Never did you turn away from us,

and, though time and again we have broken your covenant,

you have bound the human family to yourself through Jesus your Son,

our Redeemer, with a new bond of love so tight

that it can never be undone.

Even now you set before your people a time of grace and reconciliation,

and, as they turn back to you in spirit,

you grant them hope in Christ Jesus and a desire to be of service to all,

while they entrust themselves more fully to the Holy Spirit.

And so, filled with wonder, we extol the power of your love,

and, proclaiming our joy at the salvation that comes from you,

we join in the heavenly hymn of countless hosts,

as without end we acclaim:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.

Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.

At the Saviour’s command

and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say:

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come,

thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,

graciously grant peace in our days,

that, by the help of your mercy,

we may be always free from sin

and safe from all distress,

as we await the blessed hope

and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours

now and for ever.


Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,

grant us peace.


Jesus said, ‘I am the bread of life.

Whoever comes to me will never be hungry,

and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’ John 6.35

I adore You, Lord Jesus, in the Sacrament of Your love,

the ineffable Eucharist. I desire to receive You into the poor dwelling that my heart offers You. While waiting for the happiness of sacramental communion, I wish to possess You in spirit. Come to me, O my Jesus, since I, for my part, am coming to You! May Your love embrace my whole being in life and in death. I believe in You,

I hope in You, I love You. (Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val- The Vatican Website)

Give thanks for the saving death and resurrection of Jesus

and ask him to be with you now.

Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ,

for all the benefits you have given me,

for all the pains and insults you have borne for me.

Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally,

I ask you to come spiritually into my heart.

O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother,

may I know you more clearly,

love you more dearly,

and follow you more nearly, day by day.

after the Prayer of St Richard of Chichester

Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your disciples,

‘I am with you always’.

Be with me today, as I offer myself to you.

Hear my prayers for others and for myself,

and keep me in your care. Amen.



May the God of all grace, whose Son Jesus Christ fed the hungry

with the bread of life and the word of his kingdom:

renew us with heavenly grace, and in all our weakness

sustain us by His true and living bread;

and may the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, ✠

and the Holy Spirit, come down upon us

and remain with us for ever. Amen.


THE ANGELUS

The angel of the Lord brought tidings unto Mary. And she conceived by the Holy Ghost.


Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.


Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it unto me according to thy word. Hail Mary. Holy Mary.

And the Word was made flesh. And dwelt amongst us. Hail Mary. Holy Mary.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray. We beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts,

that as we have known the Incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ

by the message of an angel, so by his ✠ Cross and Passion

we may be brought unto the glory of his Resurrection;

through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us go forth in peace.

Thanks be to God.

The Lord bless us, and preserve us from all evil,

and keep us in eternal life. Amen.



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