OCTOBER 22nd is the feast of SAINT JOHN PAUL II. . John Paul II was Pope from 1979 to 2005. He was born in Poland in 1920 and saw nazism and communism destroy the life and values of his country. He trained to become a priest in secret because religion was illegal under a communist government. In order to teach the faith, he wrote poetry and plays to communicate the Gospel, and would also take families on camping trips in the mountains so he could preach freely about God without the interference of the authorities. . When he became Pope, he used his papacy to remind the world of the value of each human life and our relationships. He had witnessed how nazism, communism and the sexual revolution had impacted humanities sense of dignity and self-worth. Many historians believe that Pope John Paul II played a key role in ending communism in Eastern Europe, particularly in his homeland of Poland, but also in the Soviet Union and East Germany. . Later in his life he suffered with Parkinson’s Disease until his death in 2005. He remained active as pope until his death which in a very special way taught the world about the dignity of human life, even in the face of illness and great suffering. As with all Saints it wasn’t his life that confirms him as a Saint of the Church, but the verified miracles attributed to his intercessions (prayers) after his death. . Let us continue to ask his prayers for all who still don’t live in freedom and love; especially those who don’t appreciate their own dignity and worth or that of others. St John Paul II: Pray for us
IN SUNDAY’S GOSPEL the disciples of the Pharisee are sent to set at trap for Jesus. . They see Jesus as someone who doesn’t care about the political or religious rules of the time. They see Jesus as a trouble make and so they set out to trap him by making him answer a difficult question. So they ask him “should we Jews pay taxes to Caesar?”. This is a trap because if Jesus says that they should pay taxes to the Romans, he will lose his popularity amongst the oppressed Jewish people. But if Jesus tells them to not pay taxes the people will love him, but he will be seen as a political trouble-maker to the Romans who will swiftly get rid of him before he can lead a rebellion. . Jesus, however is able to answer the question in a way that turns the question back on his inquisitors. Jesus asks to be given a coin – a denarius – and he asks them “whose head is on this coin? Whose name is written on it?”. They tell him (what he clearly would know) that it is the image and name of Caesar. Jesus then tells them to “give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God.” . This answer gets Jesus out of the trap but also poses a challenge to us. With all that we invest in other things – not only taxes that support our society, but also what we spend on ourselves – our entertainment, food, clothes etc. Do we also give to God what belongs to God? Above all things Good has given us the gift of life. He has also give us freedom, talents and abilities. Do we give them back to God in service and love of others? Do we give to God what belongs to God? . Let us ask God to help us become more grateful for all that we have received from God, and more willing to share it with other, particularly those most in need as we pray: Our Father…
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