Sunday, October 18 at St. Francis Xavier Parish

We find ourselves already in the second half of October as we celebrate the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time this weekend. We hear in the Gospel how Jesus’ opponents question him about the lawfulness of paying taxes.

               “As we continue to follow and witness Jesus’ activities as events in Jerusalem march closer to that fateful end, we have today not a parable (we had three in a row in as many weeks). Instead, we hear about a verbal sparring match between Jesus and the Herodians and Pharisees, adversaries themselves. But a common threat (Jesus) has united these two competitors. The Herodians and the Pharisees (or at least their disciples) scheme together to ensnare (which is another meaning of the Greek term translated as “entrap”) Jesus with a clever riddle.

               The puzzle posed is sublime. When asked whether to pay the tax, Jesus might say to pay it, in which case he can be said to endorse the political system. Or Jesus might say not to pay the tax, in which case he can be said to endorse the overthrow of the political system. Either answer seemingly dooms him. But their insincerity and their plotting are plain to see. Instead of falling into the “either/or” trap, Jesus does something different. … he asks for a coin, something which he does not have. They produce the coin, thereby demonstrating that they essentially endorse the system. He asks them whose image and whose inscription is on this coin they bear. With their reply, their fate is sealed. “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”

               Jesus is not issuing a dissertation on the intersection of politics, religion, and the economy. He is not endorsing or condemning an economic system. But by his reply he has indicted the Pharisees and the Herodians for their inordinate concern about money versus what ought to be a concern for the things of God.

               His indictment should strike us too. Where are our concerns? Are we focused on money or on God? Are we sincere of heart, or are we scheming? It’s likely too flippant on our part to say with a sincere heart that we are focused only on God. Jesus’ words to his verbal opponents are addressed to us too: “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” (Living Liturgy 2020)

               This is the last Sunday with the celebrations of 1st Holy Communions at the 4pm Mass. We welcome students, families, and staff from St. Agnes School, who on Thursday evening made their First Reconciliation and are now ready to receive the Body of Christ for the first time!

               This Sunday, many parishes in our Diocese, including our own, begin the One Heart, One Soul campaign which was introduced a few years ago and has been spoken of multiple times at our parish.  This campaign is designed to “strengthen every parish in the Diocese by helping them to identify their most pressing needs and inviting the community to participate in and support these priorities of parish renewal. In addition to supporting each parish, the campaign will provide additional funds to those parishes in greatest need.” My homily this Sunday will focus on the campaign and how it will unfold at our parish.

               A reminder that a new video is being produced each week by our Children’s Liturgy team to help the youth of our parish to stay connected with our community and the Mass during this time. Please encourage the kids in your life to tune in each Sunday! Here is the link to this weekend’s video:

               Our three youth groups, offered for students in Grades 3-12, will be starting up again this coming week! They will be held online using Zoom for the time being. Each meeting is an opportunity for students to spend time with the Lord, build community with one another, explore their faith, and have lots of fun doing so!
Please visit https://saintfxstoneycreek.com/youth-groups for registration forms, schedules, and much more information! 

               For parishioners and friends who cannot join us in person for the celebration of the Mass at this time, we will livestream the 9am Sunday Mass starting with the Rosary at 8:30am. Pray with us as we honour the Blessed Virgin Mary during the month of October, imploring her for her intercession in these challenging times. Please click on the link provided here for the livestream:

God bless!
Fr. Mariusz

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