Tag Archives: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Taxes

File:Pieter Brueghel the Younger, 'Paying the Tax (The Tax Collector)' oil on panel, 1620-1640. USC Fisher Museum of Art.jpg

The Question about Paying Taxes

Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?’ But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, ‘Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.’ And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, ‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’ They answered, ‘The emperor’s.’ Then he said to them, ‘Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

Matthew 22: 15-22

What about taxes Jesus?
Surely you cannot agree with them.

Nobody likes paying taxes,
especially
when there is
a little bit,
or a lot,
added on
by the local collector…

Surely
our money
should be going to God
and not supporting a human ruler?

Surely
should be exempt,
make a stand,
refuse to pay?

What do you say Jesus?
Of course,
if you say we do not need to pay
we can report you
to the authorities,
let them know you are against them,
encouraging others
not to fulfil
their civic responsibility.

Then we would have you
and we would not
need to do it ourselves.

You want a coin?
Well yes,
of course it has the rulers head on,
that is what coins do.

So,
it is his money.
We need to pay our dues,
contribute for what we expect back,
pay our share
of the services we use
and to support those
who cannot pay as much as we can?

And having done that
we can give to God
what is his.

It is not an either-or situation,
it is both.

Giving to God
does not stop us giving what we owe
to society.

Forgive me Lord
when I am looking for excuses
to not share my resources,
to pay as little as possible,
while expecting much in return.

I guess that applies to society
and to you.

Give to me
a willing
and generous heart.

All About Me

It’s all about me,
what I can get,
what I want,
how far I can get –
what’s in it for me?

You called me
and I came,
but now I want more.

I want some guarantees,
some certainty
that what I have given up will be worth it,
and yes,
if I’m honest,
a little bit of glory,
some respect,
recognition,
people to know
how important I am to you.

But that’s not how it works.
I sit alongside you
by doing as you do,
sharing in your life and work,
it’s about giving,
not getting
and I’ve missed that point.

Forgive me Lord,
when I have got it wrong;
looked at results
not actions;
when I have worried about me
not you and your way;
when all I have done
has been about being seen,
noticed,
valued
and praised,
not sacrifice
and giving.

Lord teach me the way of giving
for I long to work with you,
to live for you
and work alongside you
may that be my sole motivation.

May I drink the cup you drink.

Let is not be all about me,
but all about you
and those you call me to serve

Mark 10:35-45 (CEV)

The Request of James and John

35 James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, will you do us a favor?”

36 Jesus asked them what they wanted, 37 and they answered, “When you come into your glory, please let one of us sit at your right side and the other at your left.”

38 Jesus told them, “You don’t really know what you’re asking! Are you able to drink from the cup that I must soon drink from or be baptized as I must be baptized?”

39 “Yes, we are!” James and John answered.

Then Jesus replied, “You certainly will drink from the cup from which I must drink. And you will be baptized just as I must! 40 But it isn’t for me to say who will sit at my right side and at my left. That is for God to decide.”

41 When the ten other disciples heard this, they were angry with James and John. 42 But Jesus called the disciples together and said:

You know that those foreigners who call themselves kings like to order their people around. And their great leaders have full power over the people they rule. 43 But don’t act like them. If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all the others. 44 And if you want to be first, you must be everyone’s slave. 45 The Son of Man did not come to be a slave master, but a slave who will give his life to rescue many people.

So Clever

We think we’re so clever,
know so much,
have all the answers
– or can find them.

(and sometimes we are
there are amazing discoveries
and science, at times,
is awesome
and serves us well)

But do we really know,
the depths of the truth?
Do we understand
what is really happening?
Can we grasp
how it all comes together?

Have we lost our awe,
our ability to wonder
and leave it at that?

Can we grasp
that some things
we just need to leave with God
and allow him
to work it out
in,
through,
with
and for us?

Can I accept
that some things
I will never know,
but
I can trust the God who does?

You Lord
keep it all together,
you know,
understand
and hold

may I trust
in you
and hold tight
to your goodness,
wisdom
and love.

Job 38:1-7, 34-41 (CEV)

The Lord Speaks

From Out of a Storm

38 From out of a storm,
    the Lord said to Job:
Why do you talk so much
    when you know so little?
Now get ready to face me!
Can you answer
    the questions I ask?
How did I lay the foundation
for the earth?
    Were you there?
Doubtless you know who decided
    its length and width.
What supports the foundation?
Who placed the cornerstone,
    while morning stars sang,
    and angels rejoiced?

34 Can you order the clouds
    to send a downpour,
35 or will lightning flash
    at your command?
36 Did you teach birds to know
that rain or floods
    are on their way?
37 Can you count the clouds
or pour out their water
38     on the dry, lumpy soil?

39 When lions are hungry,
    do you help them hunt?
40 Do you send an animal
    into their den?
41 And when starving young ravens
cry out to me for food,
    do you satisfy their hunger?