The first reading from Isaiah offers us just such an opportunity. Why in the world would God “anoint” an enemy of Israel like Cyrus. Why would God make an easy path for such a man? If we are willing to look a little deeper, we see that God was using Cyrus as an ally – an unlikely ally, at that. But, isn’t it true that many times unexplainable, and even horrific events, make room for the marvels God desires to do? Truly, we are changed and purified by the “unlikely” in our lives.
Paul had a particular love for the Church of Thessalonia as a place of his early ministry. He is always lavish in his praise and grateful for their faithfulness. In today’s Scripture he enlarges his perspective and praises them for their “endurance in hope” and “labor of love.”
The Gospel reading from Matthew is well known and often quoted. However, we would be wise to avoid simply rushing to the idea that this entrapment story of Jesus and the Pharisees over paying taxes is about the separation of Church and State. Jesus sidesteps the trap by admonishing them “to repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” Perhaps we may benefit from taking a deeper and wider look at “what belongs to God.” What is it that we hold as “our own” that may actually “belong to God?”
Holy One, give us new eyes to see and the courage we must have to look deeper into the situations and events of our daily lives. Call us to greater awareness of being open to others. Challenge us to be more loving, more giving and more forgiving.
Sister Diane Forrest, O.P.