Sr. Phyllis Jaszkowiak
October 18, 2020
“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. Give to God what is God’s.”
If we look all around us we acknowledge that all is gift from God to us. We are to treat all with respect, with love, to see all things as sacred. There is a saying from Oren Lyons, an Onondaga tribal Chief: “In the absence of the sacred – nothing is sacred – everything is for sale.” Anne Wilson Shaef adds, “And life has no value.”
When Jesus said, “Give to Caesar,” he was saying what Caesar has is nothing except this little piece of metal with his picture on it. Even the metal was a gift from God. So in reality Caesar has nothing.
We try to pretend we own things, when in actuality all is gift. Gifts to be reverenced, loved, cared for, respected. In that way we reverence, love, care for, respect the giver of the gift.
Children are one of our greatest gifts. Gifts to be reverenced, loved, cared for, respected each in their own way. These children, who will receive 1st Communion today, are gifts to their parents and to all of us. We accept gifts with joy and thanks, knowing we need to care for them, love them, help them grow into mature people.
Sometimes that is the hardest thing to do. Because we want our children to grow into mature people, when they seem to be going in the wrong direction, we are tested to the extreme. Our children learn from the adults in their lives. Let us then be those mature people who work to bring about the Common Good, God’s Will for all creation. God gives us the gifts; we need to use them rightly.
Creation is another of God’s gifts to us. A gift to be reverenced, loved, cared for, respected. Our world hasn’t done a very good job lately. We have lost the reverence, the sacredness of all things, and so as Oren Lyons says, “In the absence of the sacred everything is for sale.” Money, power, and other possessions, have taken the place of reverence, love and respect. We as a society, and individual people, have some changing to do.
Mary McGlone in the National Catholic Reporter article says about the first reading: “Isaiah depicts God as the Lord of history. Calling God the Lord of history proclaims that no situation is beyond the reach of God’s grace.” We, as humans, need to act following God’s Wisdom and promptings of the Spirit, so that God’s will becomes a reality in our world.
I attended the rosary for peace led by Archbishop Sample, this Saturday, in the Parks Blocks of downtown Portland. We prayed for peace in our city. We haven’t come up with viable ideas to stop the violence, so we pray for peace, for the insights to do what will help stop the violence, knowing in God’s time, some answers will come, if we are open to God’s Wisdom.
In this election year, rather than be caught by one issue or point of view, we need to discern God’s Will for our earth, and all people on it, through listening to the Spirit’s Wisdom that is given to us through the events of our time and place, and through our Catholic Social Justice Teachings.
Let us, then, give to God what is God’s – which is everything.
Anne Wilson Schaef, NATIVE WISDOM FOR WHITE MINDS. Ballantine Publishing Group. 1995. See page for October 2, quote from Oren Lyons.
Mary McGlone, NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER, October 2-15, 2020, page 13. Article entitled: No One Answer.
The 7 Catholic social Justice Teachings: