Celebrate Sunday Mass - 10.18.20

Join us for Sunday Mass.

The video for Sunday Mass is available below.

Bishop Strickland is unavailable this Sunday, so Holy Mass will be offered by one of the priests of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas.

Bishop Strickland is unavailable this Sunday, so Holy Mass will be offered by one of the priests of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas.

10/18/2020 (6 months ago)

By Deacon Keith Fournier


Dear Catholic Online Community and Catholic Online School students...


I know you look forward to hearing Bishop Strickland preach. The response to offering these beautiful liturgies online has been overwhelming. Bishop is unavailable, so Holy Mass will be offered by one of the priests of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, where I have the privilege of serving. 

The readings from the Scriptures, as always, offer so much for us to reflect on. It is helpful to pray through them and reflect upon them.

In our first reading, taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, we will hear a part of the story of how the Lord chose a pagan King, Cyrus, the King of Persia, during the Babylonian captivity - to set the people of Israel free and rebuild the temple! The Lord uses political authority to accomplish His purposes. 

That is because there is nothing outside of His plan. He is the true King, of all the universe. 

The Psalmist David understood that the Lords plan, in choosing Israel, was to reach all the Nations through Israel. In the Psalm for this Sunday we hear "Sing to Yahweh, all the earth! declare his glory among the nations, his marvels to every people!" 

The Lord chose to demonstrate His plan through one people in order to reveal Himself to all Nations. The Lords plan has always been to bring all men and women back to Him. 

There is nothing outside of His dominion. 

Civil authority is itself given by God. How it is used is too often a matter of bad choices. But remember, Jesus told Pilate he would have no authority had it not been given to him from above. "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore, the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin." (John 19:11)

In our second reading, the very beginning of the Apostle Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians, he  greets the early believers and reminds them - and also reminds all of us - "...you have been chosen". We have been chosen by the Lord to be a part of His saving plan. Jesus said:  "You did not choose me, but I chose you..." (John 15:16) 

Do we believe this? Do we believe we have been chosen by God? Do we live our life differently because of it? We can. We should. It is the truth which can and will set us free, if we embrace it.

In this Gospel passage the Pharisees hatched another "plan" to try to trip Jesus up. They sought to get Him to say something which they could use to accuse Him of violating the Law of Moses, or the Roman Civil Law. 

Remember, the Jewish people were under the unjust rule of the Roman Emperor and had to pay tribute or taxes to this unjust ruler. If Jesus said NOT to pay the tribute, they could accuse him of being an insurrectionist. If Jesus just said yes, we must obey all civil law (including unjust laws), they could accuse him of somehow "selling out" to Rome. 

The Lords response to this false dilemma reminds us that we are all called to respect civil authority. But we must always remember the difference between what is owed to the State - and what is owed to God. 

The State does not enjoy absolute authority. Only God does. But, as Christians citizens we have, in the words of the Second Vatican Council, "...the obligation of rendering to the State whatever material and personal services are required for the common good" (See, Gaudium et Spes, # 75) We are not required to obey unjust laws. In fact, unjust laws, those that do not recognize, for example, the Natural Moral Law concerning the fundamental Right to Life, are not law at all. 

Our active participation in the social order is also an opportunity for us to be the leaven and light which is needed. But we must exercise our citizenship in a morally coherent way, with a formed conscience, remembering that our first service and first obedience is owed to God who is the source of all authority.  

May the Lord bless you, your families, the Church, and the Nations of the world on this Lord's Day.   

Deacon Keith Fournier
Dean of Catholic Online School
Chaplain of Your Catholic Voice Foundation

Back to Catholic Online >

Copyright 2021 Catholic Online.