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Going Deeper – Gospel Reflections

Readings for Sunday 10/18/2020

Reading 1

Brothers and sisters:
In Christ we were also chosen,
destined in accord with the purpose of the One
who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,
so that we might exist for the praise of his glory,
we who first hoped in Christ.
In him you also, who have heard the word of truth,
the Gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him,
were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
which is the first installment of our inheritance
toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.

Responsorial Psalm

R.  (12) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
For upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down;
he sees all mankind.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May your kindness, LORD, be upon us;
who have put our hope in you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel

At that time:
So many people were crowding together
that they were trampling one another underfoot.
Jesus began to speak, first to his disciples,
“Beware of the leaven–that is, the hypocrisy–of the Pharisees.

“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness
will be heard in the light,
and what you have whispered behind closed doors
will be proclaimed on the housetops.
I tell you, my friends,
do not be afraid of those who kill the body
but after that can do no more.
I shall show you whom to fear.
Be afraid of the one who after killing
has the power to cast into Gehenna;
yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one.
Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?
Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.
Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.
Do not be afraid.
You are worth more than many sparrows.”

Overcoming the Trickery of Evil

The Pharisees went off and plotted how they might entrap him in speech. They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. And you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion, for you do not regard a person’s status. Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?” Knowing their malice, Jesus said, “Why are you testing me, you hypocrites?” Matthew 22:15-18

The Pharisees were “hypocrites” filled with “malice.”  They were also cowards in that they would not even act on their own malicious plot.  Instead, they sent some of their own disciples to try to trap Jesus.  From the point of view of worldly wisdom, they set a very good trap.  Most likely, the Pharisees sat and discussed this plot in great detail, instructing these messengers on exactly what to say.

They began by complimenting Jesus telling Him they know He is a “truthful man.”  They then go on to say that they know Jesus is “not concerned with anyone’s opinion.”  These two accurate qualities of Jesus are spoken because the Pharisees believe they can use them as the foundation of their trap.  If Jesus is truthful and not concerned about other’s opinions then surely they expect Him to declare that there is no need to pay the temple tax.  The result of such a statement by Jesus would be that He would be arrested by the Romans.

The sad truth is that the Pharisees spend a tremendous amount of energy plotting and planning this malicious trap.  What a waste of time!  And the glorious truth is that Jesus spends hardly any energy dismantling their plot and revealing them for the malicious hypocrites they are.  He states, “repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God” (Matthew 22:21).

In our own lives, there are times when we may find ourselves face to face with the malicious intent and plotting of another.  Though this may be rare for some, it does happen.  Often times, the effect of such a plot is that we become deeply disturbed and lose our peace.  But Jesus endured such malice so as to show us the way to handle the attacks and traps we may encounter in life.  The answer is to stay grounded in the Truth and to respond with the wisdom of God.  God’s wisdom penetrates and foils every human act of malice and trickery.  God’s wisdom is able to overcome everything.

Reflect, today, upon how deeply you trust the wisdom of God to guide you through life.  You cannot make it on your own.  There are traps and snares that will inevitably come your way.  Trust in His wisdom and abandon yourself to His perfect will and you will find that He will guide you every step of the way.

Lord, I entrust my life to Your perfect wisdom and care.  Protect me from all trickery and guard me from the plots of the evil one.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Source of content: mycatholic.life

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