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XXIX Sunday in Ordinary Time

“..So that he might maintain himself whole in the echo of the life of Our image impressed in him, We gave him Our Divine Will as inheritance, that It might preserve him just as We had delivered him…”

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Dear Brothers and Sisters, Fiat!

This Sunday’s Gospel (Mt 22:15-21) presents to us a new face-to-face encounter between Jesus and his adversaries. The theme addressed is that of the tribute to Caesar: a “thorny” issue about whether or not it was lawful to pay taxes to the Roman Emperor, to whom Palestine was subject in Jesus’ time. There were various positions. Thus, the question that the Pharisees posed to him — “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (v. 17) — was meant to ensnare the Teacher. In fact, depending on how he responded, he could have been accused of being either for or against Rome.

But in this case too, Jesus responds calmly and takes advantage of the malicious question in order to teach an important lesson, rising above the polemics and the alliance of his adversaries. He tells the Pharisees: “Show me the money for the tax”. They present him a coin, and, observing the coin, Jesus asks: “Whose likeness and inscription is this?”. The Pharisees can only answer: “Caesar’s”. Then Jesus concludes: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (cf. vv. 19-21). On the one hand, suggesting they return to the emperor what belongs to him, Jesus declares that paying tax is not an act of idolatry, but a legal obligation to the earthly authority; on the other — and it is here that Jesus presents the “thrust” of his response: recalling the primacy of God, he asks them to render to Him that which is His due as the Lord of the life and history of mankind.

The reference to Caesar’s image engraved on the coin says that it is right that they feel fully — with rights and duties — citizens of the State; but symbolically it makes them think about the other image that is imprinted on every man and woman: the image of God. He is the Lord of all, and we, who were created “in his image” belong to Him first and foremost. From the question posed to him by the Pharisees, Jesus draws a more radical and vital question for each of us, a question we can ask ourselves: to whom do I belong? To family, to the city, to friends, to work, to politics, to the State? Yes, of course. But first and foremost — Jesus reminds us — you belong to God. This is the fundamental belonging. It is He who has given you all that you are and have. And therefore, day by day, we can and must live our life in recognition of this fundamental belonging and in heartfelt gratitude toward our Father, who creates each one of us individually, unrepeatable, but always according to the image of his beloved Son, Jesus. It is a wondrous mystery.

In the passage of November 20, 1926 Jesus tells Luisa that in creating the creature, as God was forming him with His creative hands, He felt a joy, a contentment come out of His womb, because he was to serve to maintain God’s amusement on the face of the earth, and  His continuous feast. So, as God formed his feet, He thought that they were to serve His kisses, because they were to enclose God’s steps and were to be His means of encounter, to amuse Himself  together. As God formed his hands, He thought that they were to serve His kisses and embraces, because He was to see in him the repeater of His works.

As God formed his mouth, his heart, which were to serve the echo of His word and of His love, and as He infused life in him with His breath, in seeing that that life had come out of Him – it was a life completely His own, He clasped him to His womb and kissed him, as the confirmation of His work and of His love. And so that he might maintain himself whole in His steps, in His works, in the echo of His word and love, and of the life of His image impressed in him, God gave him His Divine Will as inheritance, that It might preserve him just as God had delivered him, so as to be able to continue His amusements, His affectionate kisses, His sweet conversations with the work of His hands. When God sees His Will in the creature, He sees in her His steps, His works, His love, His words, His memory and intellect, because He knows that His Supreme Will will let nothing enter which is not His own. Therefore, being His own, God gives her everything – kisses, caresses, favors, love, tenderness more than paternal - nor does He feel like remaining even at one step of distance from her; more so, since even the slightest distances cannot form the continuous amusements, nor exchange kisses, nor share the most intimate and secret joys.

On the other hand, in the soul in whom God does not see His Will, He cannot amuse Himself, because He sees nothing that is His own. Such a disharmony, such a dissimilarity of steps, of works, of words, of love can be felt in her, that she herself puts herself at a distance from her Creator; and wherever He sees that the powerful magnet of His Will is not present, which makes Him as though forget about the infinite distance that exists between the Creator and the creature, He disdains to amuse Himself with her, and to fill her with His kisses and favors. So, by withdrawing from God’s Will, man interrupted God’s amusements and destroyed the designs He had in forming the Creation; and only by the reigning of the Supreme Fiat, by establishing Its Kingdom, God’s plans will be realized and His amusements resumed on the face of the earth.



don Marco
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