Friday, October 14, 2011

No Compartments

Twenty Ninth Ordinary Sunday Year A

We have easily divided our lives into different compartments. Life in the family; life at work; life at school; life among friends; life in the Church. We are able to live “different lives” in different environments. For example, among friends I like to be the “good guy” but I show a dark side of myself at home among my family members. With a superior, whether it be your boss, or teacher or priest, you will try to be on your best behaviour. But behind their backs, you despise them and gossip about them.

Perhaps, the greatest change of behaviour can be seen in the Church environment. Many people come to Church. They show a great deal of respect for the Blessed Sacrament when entering the Church – silence, kneeling, praying for long periods – but the moment they step out of Church, another behaviour begins. They fight with others, they gossip, they compete with one another, they hit out at their family members, friends and other members of the community.

The saying of Jesus at the end of today’s gospel, “Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God” is no excuse to act like this. Jesus is not saying, with God we must act one way, but when dealing with others, we act differently. Actually, the saying is a riddle. Does anything actually belong to Caesar? Does anything actually belong to you or to me? The answer is NO. Everything belongs to God. So everything that we do, we do it for God. Everything that we do, we do it not for some personal gain/profit or for popularity sake but in order to glorify God.

Therefore, there is no distinction between life in the Church, in the family, in the working place, in school, in the restaurant or among friends. In all these places, we must act and behave like children of God. There is no point cheating others in your business dealings and then faithfully coming to Church every Sunday. What we do on Sunday must affect our lives throughout the week. Every day is a holy day. Everything that we do is sacred. Everything that we say, we must be able to say it in the presence of God. There is no distinction between religion and society. The faith that we profess on Sunday and celebrate during the Mass must be lived out everyday.

In today’s mass, let us honestly examine our lives. Have we been acting like Christians at home with our own family members? Have we treated them with respect in the same way that we would treat Jesus in the Eucharist? As for the working place, have we been giving good witness as Christians? Are we honest and hardworking or do we cheat at work? Are we lazy and neglect our responsibilities? Do we take bribes and steal from the company? How about our actions with our friends? Do we follow them to places that we shouldn’t go? Do we spend time with them getting drunk and getting involved in bad habits?

Remember only this, “Give back to God what belongs to God.” At the end of our lives on earth, it is our own lives which we must give back to God. We can either give a life that is full of honesty, compassion, love and respect or we can give to God a life that is full of dishonesty, selfishness and sin. Choose now!

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