OFFICE FOR LITURGY

of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford

Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Everyone on this earth belongs to God. All are made in his image. Therefore it is right that all men and women, ‘from the rising to the setting of the sun’, should know the God to whom they belong. The only desire of our God is that all should know and love him, and find in him the fulfilment that they seek. Even a pagan king like Cyrus is used to further this knowledge of God - just as Jesus uses Caesar’s head to make the point again: all belong to God, and the mission of all who acknowledge that belonging is to help others to find it. This is exactly what we see Paul, Silvanus and Timothy doing, as they write to the people of Thessalonika. to whom they carried the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Notes for Readers

First Reading: Isaiah 45:1.4-6.
 
A bit of background: the people of Israel had been carried into exile in Babylon in the year 587 B.C., and had settled there; then, in 539 B.C.the armies of the Persian King, Cyrus, entered Babylon, defeating the Babylonian armies. A year later, in 538 B.C., Cyrus issued a decree, stating that the Israelites could leave Babylon to return to their own land. This they did, starting the rebuilding of the Temple (which had been destroyed) the year after. This reading describes the choice of Cyrus, the Persian King, as the means through which God frees his people. The reason for this is so that the knowledge of the Lord can spread throughout the world. All this background is not apparent from the reading, so your listeners will be labouring under a disadvantage (unless a brief introduction is given). The main point of the reading, and the one to strive to get across, comes in the last three lines, which explain that this person called Cyrus, even though he doesn’t know the Lord, is the Lord’s chosen instrument, who will increase the knowledge of God ‘from the rising to the setting of the sun’ (from East to West). To increase your understanding of the meaning of the reading, look closely at the Psalm, a hymn about uniting all the nations of the earth under God.
 
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5.
 
The beginning of a new letter: after a traditional, formal greeting, Paul launches into an affirmation of the people of Thessalonica; note the list of their three virtues: ‘shown your faith in action, worked for love and persevered through hope’ - be careful to keep the meaning through this list. Also note the idea in the last paragraph about how the people received the word of God as something more than words - this comes up again in a fortnight - which perhaps helps the reader to understand what she or he is doing: not reading words, but conveying ‘power and the Holy Spirit and utter conviction.’

From the Catechism

CCC 1897-1917
Participation in the social sphere

CCC 2238-2244
Duties of citizens

CCC 2239 2241 
It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom. The love and service of one's country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity. Submission to legitimate authorities and service of the common good require citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community.
Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one's country:
Pay to all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.
[Christians] reside in their own nations, but as resident aliens. They participate in all things as citizens and endure all things as foreigners. . . . They obey the established laws and their way of life surpasses the laws. . . . So noble is the position to which God has assigned them that they are not allowed to desert it.
The Apostle exhorts us to offer prayers and thanksgiving for kings and all who exercise authority, "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way."
The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.
Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants' duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.

Gospel Wordsearch