Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A), October 22, 2017 - Matthew 22:15-22 and Exodus 33:12-23

(Matthew 22:15-22)

USA Today Sports / Reuters

Coin of the Realm

Some say that players should not take the knee
When others rise for "Oh, say can you see?"
They say that it's a mark of disrespect,
And verbally abuse those they'd correct.

It's something like when Jesus' enemies
Pulled out a coin for everyone to see,
And asked if he might choose to pay the tax
And thus the Law on idols he'd relax.

Instead, it was a broader truth he chose,
Which was that Caesar's head is juxtaposed
Against a faith God's sovereign over all,
Therefore, to Caesar, none should be in thrall.

These players don't forsake the waving flag,
But state a truth about which none should brag,
Which is that in this land made of the free,
Some cops give blacks more than the third degree.

They kneel in sorrow so opinions change,
So all for justice might now be engaged.
Not flag, but what it stands for is what saves:
Say kneelers who act out "home of the brave."

We are not free because arms make it so,
The Declaration's clear that we're bestowed
With rights by God, however you perceive;
So stand and kneel for all that you believe.

Scott L. Barton

Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap [Jesus] in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

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(Exodus 33:12-23)

Rembrandt: Moses and the Burning Bush (ca. 1655)

The Conversation

Moses keeps upping the ante,
He asks the LORD for more and more.
Though it seems this LORD knows his name -
What are your ways? How keep favor?
(Besides they're YOUR baby, not mine)
And really, who will go with me?
The LORD says, I'll go.
                                         Moses: Mean it?
The LORD says, Yes, yes; as you'll see.
       We'll really stand out, that's for sure.
The LORD says, Yes, yes; you I bless.
        But where is the proof positive?
The LORD says, My glory's my goodness,
Which means, I choose you, not you, me;
Mercy and graciousness are mine.
Such giving's what my goodness means;
The back you see, will be your sign.

A couple on a recent flight
Told me the Lord they also seek,
This text, however makes me think,
When Moses sees the LORD, oblique,
It's not that Moses just was mooned,
But it's the other way around -
The Lord's the one who seeks you out,
Let not your search such truth confound.

Scott L. Barton 
(Dedicated to that delightful couple, Steve and Caroline.)

Moses said to the Lord, “See, you have said to me, ‘Bring up this people’; but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now if I have found favor in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you and find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And he said to him, “If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people, unless you go with us? In this way, we shall be distinct, I and your people, from every people on the face of the earth.” The Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” Moses said, “Show me your glory, I pray.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, ‘The Lord’; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.” And the Lord continued, “See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”

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