Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.
As we draw near the end of Matthew’s Gospel, the opposition to Jesus
intensifies. Today the Pharisees seek to entrap Jesus, asking if it is lawful to
pay taxes to the emperor. The trap would be to offend either zealous Jewish
patriots or else offend the ruling class in Jerusalem including the Romans.
Jesus’ answer points instead to Jewish teaching that the government, even a
pagan one, has legitimate authority, but that authority cannot be allowed to
interfere with our duty toward God.
[Using Exodus] In our ongoing story of the Exodus, it is time for the Jews to
move on in their journey to the land of promise. Moses asks for a sign of
God’s favor. God gives two signs. One is his promise to go with the people on
their journey to the Promised Land and the other is to give Moses a glimpse of
God.
The second reading today begins several weeks of reading Paul’s first letter to
the Thessalonians. This is probably the earliest of Paul’s letters. Things have
gone well since he left and he begins by giving thanks for their faithfulness.
This church, however, had some problems and confusion about the second
coming of Christ. In coming weeks we will hear Paul’s teaching about that.
Central to every gathering of Christians for worship is intercessory prayer. Our
prayer is always for the church and the world. A striking illustration was that
the early Christians prayed for the emperor who was persecuting them. Our
faith calls us to pray for and to minister to all aspects of life. The liturgy
reminds us that God is concerned for all creation and is the Savior of all.
Happy Sunday.
Father Eddie+

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