This weekend’s Gospel is a challenge for us. It would appear that Jesus is telling us to keep our civil responsibilities and our religious responsibilities separate from one another. Pay your taxes; pray to God, but not at the same time. At one time in the history of the Church, pre-Vatican II, this was the prevailing attitude. In this view, the world was not a good place, but the Church promised heaven. However, since Vatican II, the documents of the Council have challenged us to be salt and leaven to society.
We read in Lumen Gentium 31: ” But the laity, by their very vocation, seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God. They live in the world, that is, in each and in all of the secular professions and occupations. They live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life, from which the very web of their existence is woven. They are called there by God that by exercising their proper function and led by the spirit of the Gospel they may work for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven. In this way they may make Christ known to others, especially by the testimony of a life resplendent in faith, hope and charity. Therefore, since they are tightly bound up in all types of temporal affairs it is their special task to order and to throw light upon these affairs in such a way that they may come into being and then continually increase according to Christ to the praise of the Creator and the Redeemer.”
In other words, we all are called to season society with our witness to the faith. This includes the ordained bishop,priest and deacon and religious women and men. Each one of us, no matter our state in life, is challenged to bring the message of Jesus into the world.
Our world today is in need of the saving message of Jesus. You just need to listen to the news for 2 minutes to hear of violence, war, bullying, latent and overt racism and prejudice, sexism, and the list continues. The call of the Gospel is not isolate ourselves into a rigid world set off from the world with walls; I truly believe that the reality of Vatican II challenges to embrace the world with the same love and acceptance that Jesus embraced the Cross. Salt flavors the food we use and can be coarse at times, but is needed. So too our faith. We need to flavor the world with our beliefs even when it may rub someone the wrong way. Leaven makes bread rise and grow. The leaven of our love will help the world grow into the Kingdom of Jesus.
May we witness in our world to the love of God may real in Christ.