Let us remember today that we must render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, i.e., observe the law of Justice, and render to God the things that are God’s, i.e., the soul made in the image of its Creator must render to Him the tribute of adoration and obedience.
On this Sunday, one of the last of the ecclesiastical year, the Church is full of thought “of the day of Christ” (Epistle) or of the approaching end of the world. “If the Lord considers our iniquities, who will stand before Him ?” (Introit). Wherefore the liturgy speaks to us of divine mercy (Introit, Secret). But, to obtain it we must be full of mercy ourselves. “It is good and pleasant indeed for brothers to be united” (Gradual). In the hour of danger, let us use the prayers of the Church which have an eminently social and fraternal character, and which will by heard by God, the author of all charity (Collect) as King Assuerus heard the prayers of Queen Esther (Offertory).
Remembering in these days that the love of God and of our neighbor gives to the mind a greater understanding of divine things, “let then our charity increase more and more in light and in intelligence” that we may resist the more terrible assaults of the enemy.
The Gospel recalls to us a scene which took place on one of the last days of Jesus’ life when He confounded, by a reply full of wisdom from above, His enemies who more than ever were compassing His ruin. The Jews, subject to the Romans, had to pay tribute to Caesar, an obligation all the more odious to them that it went counter to the spirit of universal domination promised to Israel as they imagined. What would the Master reply to the question of the Pharisees? He would excite the Jewish people against Him if He told them to pay tribute or the Roman authorities and the Herodians, if He told them not to do so. The enemies of Jesus already thought they had sufficient cause to have Him arrested.
The Savior ingeniously avoids the trap. “Whose image and superscription is this?” “Caesar’s,” they reply. The law required that to pay the tribute they should first change the national coin into coin bearing the effigy of the Roman Emperor. Jesus convicts them of having themselves answered the question by this very change. If you have procured coins with the effigy of Caesar, you must have had the intention of paying the tribute. “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” And the Master completes His lesson by saying “and render to God, the things that are God’s” for the human soul, made to the image of its Creator, owes Him the tribute of its adoration and obedience.
INTROIT Psalm 129: 3-4
If Thou shalt observe iniquities, O Lord, Lord, who shall endure it? for with Thee is propitiation, O God of Israel. (Ps. 129: 1,2) From the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my voice. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Repeat If Thou shalt observe iniquities…
O God, our refuge and our strength! give ear to the holy prayers of Thy Church, O Thou, the author of holiness and grant, that what we ask with faith, we may effectually obtain . Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
Collect for the Intercession of the Saints
Let us pray. Defend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, from all dangers of mind and body: and through the intercession of the blessed and glorious Mary, ever Virgin, mother of God, of St Joseph, of Thy holy apostles, Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, in Thy loving-kindness grant us safety and peace; that, all adversities and errors being overcome, Thy Church may serve Thee in security and freedom.
Collect for God’s Holy Church
Let us pray. Graciously hear, O Lord, the prayers of Thy Church that, having overcome all adversity and every error, she may serve Thee in security and freedom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R.Amen.
EPISTLE Philippians 1: 6-11
Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Philippians. Brethren, We are confident of this very thing, that he who hath begun a good work in you, will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus. As it is meet for me to think this for you all: for that I have you in my heart and that in my bands, and in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel, you are all partakers of my joy, For God is my witness, how I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your charity may more and more abound in knowledge and in all understanding that you may approve the better things, that you may be sincere and without offense unto the day of Christ. Filled with the fruits of justice, through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 132: 1, 26
Behold! how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! V. It is like the precious ointment on the head, that ran down upon the beard, the beard of Aaron. Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Ps. 113: 11) Let them that fear the Lord, hope in Him He is their helper and their protector. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Matthew 22: 15-21
At that time, the Pharisees went and consulted among them-selves, how to ensnare Jesus in His speech. And they sent to Him their disciples, with the Herodians, Saying: “Master, we know that Thou art a true speaker, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest Thou for any man, for Thou dost not regard the person of men.Tell us therefore, what dost Thou think? Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus knowing their wickedness, said: “Why do you tempt Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the coin of the tribute.” And they offered Him a penny. And Jesus saith to them: “Whose image and superscription is this? They say to Him: “Caesar’s.” Then He saith to them: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Esther 14: 12,13
Remember me, O Lord, Thou Who rulest above all power; and give a well-ordered speech in my mouth, that my words may be pleasing in the sight of the prince.
Grant unto us, O merciful God, that this saving oblation may unceasingly free us from our own guilty deeds, and keep us from all things that may hurt us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.
Secret for the Intercession of the Saints
Graciously hear us, O God our Saviour, and, by virtue of this Sacrament, defend us from all enemies of soul and body, bestowing upon us Thy grace here and Thy glory hereafter.
Secret for God’s Holy Church
Protect us, O Lord, who assist at Thy mysteries, that, cleaving to things divine, we may serve Thee both in body and in mind. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R.Amen.
PREFACE of the Most Holy Trinity
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, ever-lasting God: Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, are one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out with one voice saying:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Psalm 118: 81, 84, 86
I have cried, for Thou, O God, hast heard me: O incline Thine ear unto me, and hear my words.
We have received, O Lord, the gifts of this sacred Mystery, and humbly beseech Thee: that what Thou hast bidden us to do in memory of Thee may avail us as a help in our weakness. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, For ever and ever. R. Amen.
Postcommunion for the Intercession of the Saints
Let us pray. May the gift of this Divine Sacrament which we have offered, cleanse us and defend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord; and through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of God, of St. Joseph, of Thy holy apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, free us from all iniquity and deliver us from all adversity.
Postcommunion for God’s Holy Church
Let us pray. O Lord our God, we pray Thee that Thou suffer not to succumb to human hazards those whom Thou hast been pleased to make sharers of divine mysteries. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.