29th Sunday of Ordinary Time
What belongs to God
Show me the money…
The taxes question intended to trap Jesus becomes a mystical teaching about our origin in God and our vocation.
The denarius Jesus asked to see was a silver Roman coin equivalent to the daily wage of an unskilled laborer. It was about the size of a Canadian dime.
Jesus transcended the guile of Pharisees and the Herodians by bringing God into their question. Without reference to God all social and personal systems collapse into themselves. Faith in God helps us to see and correct our corruption. Faith helps us believe that we are made in God’s image and likeness and faith helps us understand the privilege and responsibility of the title we have received in Baptism: Christian.
Our coins bear the Latin: ELIZABETH II D.G. REGINA What does it mean? Don’t Go to Regina??? Well the first part is obvious, it is the name of the person imaged on the coin. The D.G. abbreviates two Latin words: Dei Gratia meaning By God’s grace is the Queen.
What expression could adequately express the relationship of God’s image in us and our title of Christian? Perhaps we could summarize thus:
Joseph, by grace, God’s Son in Christ.
Mary, by grace, God’s daughter in Christ.
By Grace means by Spirit. By the Spirit we are made to be daughters and sons of God sacramentally in Baptism. God’s image grows stronger in our lives as we live out our title of Christian. Discernment is our constant search for how best to honor and serve God in the world and among God’s people.
Since we are from God we therefore belong to God. Our vocation is the way that we give God what really belongs to God: our freedom, love and service.
Oblate discernment is practical. The first line of our Constitutions states: “The call of Jesus Christ, heard within the Church through people’s need for salvation, draws us together as Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.” Today there is a great need for Church leadership and pastoral care. There is a great need for the prophetic words and witness of Religious men and women. There is a great need for priests to evangelize, form Christian community and celebrate the sacraments. A practical approach to discernment is not just for the Oblates: it’s our gift to the whole church. It represents Jesus’ own practical discernment of people’s need for salvation following his deeper experience of sonship at his Baptism.
So immerse yourself in God’s love and look at the needs of the church and world and explore how you can best give to God what belongs to God.
Fr. Mark Blom, OMI – Vocation Director