Skip to content

Discerning True Intentions

By Fr. Robert J. Carr
Catholic Online

Homily for 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

As we begin today's gospel, it may be time to stop and take a breath. We need to understand who and where we are. It is the twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary time. There are only five weeks left in the liturgical year. We have been in year A, and this gospel this year is Matthew. The main focus of Matthew is Jesus establishing the Kingdom of God. Starting on the first week of Advent which falls on November 27th, we will be focusing on the gospel of Mark. The main theme in that gospel is Jesus' suffering. So here we are near the end of the year in which we look at kingdom of God themes. Matthew also was written mostly to Jews.

The main focus of our gospel passage today is an interchange with Jesus and the Herodians. The Herodians as the name suggest are actually a political, as opposed to a religious, group. Therefore, like anyone who is focused on this life, they are highly focused of the temporal sphere as opposed to the eternal.

The Herodians are the supporters of the Herods and, in this case, we can assume specifically Herod Antipas. His most famous act, besides beheading John the Baptist is to mock Jesus and dismiss him to Pilate on Good Friday. The role of Herod is to keep the Emperor of Rome happy with the Jews. If the Emperor is Happy, Herod is Happy. If the Emperor is not happy, Herod's not happy. If the Emperor is happy and the Jews are not happy, Herod is still Happy. Think of General Jerulelski of Poland and his relationship with the Soviet Union.

The Herods were vicious people, vicious leaders. They were converts to Judaism and lived the faith at an extreme minimal level. Think of Sadaam Hussein as a Moslem. Those people who speak to Jesus are his supporters.

DICTATORS ALWAYS HAVE THEIR SUPPORTERS

Whenever there is a dictatorship, there are two kinds of people, those who benefit from the dictatorship and are, therefore, happy and those who don't and are, therefore, not happy. There are no dictators in this world, as vicious as they may be, who do not have a group who benefit from their dictatorial style. It was the same case with the Tories in this country during the Revolutionary War. This also happened in Papa Doc's Haiti, Idi Amin's Uganda, Trulillo's Dominican Republic, Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia, Marcos' Philipines, etc. These people stayed in power by keeping the right people happy and oppressing everyone else.

The major concern at the time is that the Emperor will see Jesus' actions, which many believe are sowing the seeds of a coup of the empire, as a threat to his power. Caesar will not tolerate this. The result would be the Emperor is not happy and, therefore, Herod and his supporters will pay for the Emperor's unhappiness. They don't want to see this.

CATHOLICS ATTACKED BY POLITICAL GROUPS

This is also the same reality with the Church. Have you noticed that it is only the Catholic Church that has been treated viciously by universities, the media and certain government officials in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. No other church has suffered to the level that we have. Why? Because we pose a political threat to the powers that be, and they do not like that.

The Sendero Luminoso in Peru would kill priests and religious in the town square because they were outspoken to those who were most oppressed. The Sendero believed if priests and religious just made people feel good and gave them sacraments that should be left alone. However, the minute the gospel is truly preached, then the Guerillas became threatened and began their attack on the Church. The same happened in El Salvador, Soviet Russia, etc.

Jesus is posing a threat. The Herodians could care less about what He is teaching, but they do not want Him to upset the body politic. So they begin to test him. Understand, if he fails the test they will destroy him. They will not tolerate anyone who challenges their lifestyle or their power.

HERODIANS LIE

Look at what they say.

Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.

That is nothing but a political way to communicate their intentions and they lie. They are testing him and they are testing him publicly. They do not believe a word they say. How can we tell? They refer to him as a truthful man, yet the are challenging him because they do not believe him to be a truthful man and they find him threatening. Had they believed in Jesus, they would not have said any of these words.

They are acting politically. Jesus' response is also political. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and render unto God what is God's. He is taking their question and making a political statement. Give the political power his due and give God His due. Paul in Romans thirteen later defines this further when he says that political power is given through God's providence, therefore, one is serving God when one is obeying the political power.

Yet, do not forget how they do this, they are trying to make themselves appear sincere in front of the people. They do not want the people to feel they are trying to undermine Jesus, as they will revolt. So they do it in an underhanded, smooth and politically savvy way.

THE NEED FOR DISCERNMENT

This whole conversation demonstrates what we call discernment. It is an essential tool when people are using a form of communication in which they are saying one thing and they intend another. One of my favorite examples and one of the reasons why I supported the Massachusetts Bottle Bill the 1980's was because of what transpired in the 1970's when the bottle bill first came up for a vote. There were many ads of how many glassmakers would lose their jobs if it passed. The minute the bottle bill failed, the soda makers came out with plastic bottles. We were lied to by these campaigns. I have learn about being politically savvy since.

We have to be aware of people's true intentions and how those intentions click with their words and deeds.

I had a discussion online with one of my previous parishioners over whether Cardinal Law was forced out or did he leave voluntarily. The reality is that he left voluntarily. He left because of the abuse crisis, but the reality is that he left because people wanted him out. He stood in the way of embryonic stem cell research, gay marriage, abortion, etc. T.S. Eliot says "There is no greater treason than to do the right thing for the wrong reason." That is the political game.

Such people's hearts are not pure, they are rooted in self-centeredness and political games. They are not seeking after the common good, but their own good. They are succumbing to that part of the human heart that is vulnerable to evil.

ATTACKS LEVELED AGAINST CARDINAL MAHONEY, CARDINAL LAW AND ARCHBISHOP O'MALLEY

You and I have to be aware that these realities exist or we will be taken in by them. Presently, for example there is a similar move to bring down the Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles in the same way that the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston was brought down. Many say that this is the right thing to do, but wait, what is the true motive of those attacking Cardinal Mahoney? Are they seeking to strengthen the Church or weaken it? Their claims may not match their true intentions. Meanwhile, others are attacking Archbishop Sean O'Malley, Cardinal Law's successor, and calling people to prevent him from being Cardinal for his stand against gay marriage and abortion.

Did you notice everything centers around the office of Cardinal. It is the Cardinal that votes for the Pope. Change the College of Cardinals and you affect the Election of the Pope.

BE SOBER AND ALERT

Paul teaches us to be wise with God's wisdom and to discern the spirits. Peter reminds us to be sober and alert that our opponent the Devil is on the prowl seeking the ruin of souls. If we are not wise we can be easily taken in by those who attempt to hide their true motives. They may seek to lead us to believe they are living in truth, when they are living a lie.

Go back and study the gospel passage of Jesus interaction with the Herodians. (Matt 22:15-21) Notice that these people are talking to Truth himself and attempting to hide their true intentions. They are so blind in their darkness that they can neither recognize Jesus for whom he is, nor themselves for whom they are not. They will do anything to protect their self-interests. They even try to convince those around them that their intentions are pure. I get a picture of sliminess with I see this.

We need to be people who see the world through God's wisdom or we will be done in by God's enemies. We need to be wise or we will be consumed by those who are really fools. We need to know our faith, we need to be obedient to our God and we need to be people who understand that being catholic is a way thinking, acting and living. It is not simply attending mass on Sunday.

LET'S STOP LISTENING TO THE SLIMEY

The slimey have had their ways with Catholics for awhile. It is time to pray for the infusion of God's wisdom so that we may be free of their deception otherwise they will successfully ruin our souls as well as they ruined their own.

Today there is a belief that as long as someone is spiritual they are in God's graces. That is exactly what the Herodians would want you to think. Indeed, that same philosophy is the very reason for the Maccabean Revolt detailed in the Book of Maccabees. We follow the Truth, and there is a difference in truth between those who follow any spirituality and those who follow Christ. Jesus alone died and rose for us. Jesus leads us to the Father. Jesus calls us to repentance. Any other spirituality has some truth but not all. We need to be able to discern one from the other at all times.

Contact

Catholicism Anew
http://www.revrobertjcarr.com MA, US
Fr. Robert J. Carr - Priest, 617 230-3300

Email

frbobcarr@earthlink.net

Keywords

Crisis, Jesus, Dictators, Discernment,

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity
DAN SHEA

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Catholic Online MasterClass
Learn from experts

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Catholic Media Missionaries
The New Evangelization

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.