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October 20th, 2002
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October 20th, 2002

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29th Sunday in Ordinary Time Mt 22/ 15-21


Today's story is the classic account of how some of the Jewish leaders tried to put Jesus down in rabbinical argumentation and how he proved himself far more clever than they were. Jesus's logic has been interpreted in many different ways down through the centuries, though in fact it was not designed for such interpretation. It is a general principle about the relationship between religion and society and does not seek to impose specific forms on any given situation, Those who misinterpret it often want to minimize the role of society and maximize the power of churches - just like those who tried to trap Jesus in this incident.

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Once upon a time a missionary priest came to a certain parish to give a mission which, quite by accident, took place at the same time as an election. The missionary had been around a lot, claimed to know a lot of important people, and to have the inside story about what was happening in the political world. So most of the mission was about politics. The local incumbent Congressman was facing a difficult pre election battle because he was something less than a charismatic figure. In fact his public image was slightly worse than zilch. The priest claimed to know all kinds of secrets about the man, his love life, his friends, his secret affiliations. Everyone knew that he had once been a communist and now was a secret socialist. He was crooked, immoral, and a threat to American freedom. It would be mortal sin to vote for him. Now the precincts in the parish were swing districts. The people at the mission and their families would decide the outcome of the election. The pastor of t! he parish was embarrassed. He liked the Congressman and didn't believe a thing the missionary said. At the end of the mission, he simply told his people render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's etc. The parish went solidly for the Congressman. One of the older parishioners muttered, what do priests know about politics.

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One of the older parishioners muttered, what do priests know about politics

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