Pope at Angelus: Faith and daily life are intimately connected

At the Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis warns against the temptation of thinking that faith and daily life are two separate things, calling this way of thinking a type of schizophrenia.

By Deborah Castellano Lubov

For those who are tempted to think faith and daily life do not have to do with one another, Pope Francis says this, frankly, is not true.

The Holy Father made this observation during his Sunday Angelus address at noon to the faithful in St. Peter's Square and following from afar, as he reflected on today's Gospel passage according to St. Matthew. He also underscored that we belong to the Lord and not any earthly power.

The Gospel reading tells of pharisees who join with the Herodians, "to set a trap for Jesus," the Pope recalled.

They go to Him and ask: “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (Mt 22:17). It is a ruse: if Jesus legitimizes the tax, He places Himself on the side of a political power that is ill-supported by the people, whereas if He says not to pay it, He can be accused of rebellion against the empire.

However, the Pope reminded, Jesus escapes this snare by asking them to show Him a coin. It bears the image of Caesar, and He says to them: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (v. 21).

The Holy Father then asked, "What does this mean?"

Faith and daily life are not separate

These words of Jesus, the Pope observed, have become "commonplace," "at times they have been used incorrectly, or at least reductively," to talk about "the relations between Church and State, Christians and politics; often they are interpreted as though Jesus wanted to separate 'Caesar' from “God”, that is, earthly from spiritual reality."

“At times we too think in this way: faith with its practices is one thing, and daily life is another. No. This is a form of “schizophrenia”, as though faith had nothing to do with real life...”

In reality, he pointed out, Jesus wants to help us place “Caesar” and “God” each in their proper place. 

"We are the Lord's"

Jesus, the Pope emphasized, "affirms the fundamental reality: that man belongs to God: all of man and every human being."

This means, he reasoned, that we do not belong to any earthly reality, to any “Caesar” of this world. 

“We are the Lord’s, and we must not be slaves to any earthly power.”

Even if on the coin, the emperor's image may be engraved, the Pope observed, what is key to remember is that our lives, however, "are imprinted with the image of God, which nothing and no-one can obscure."

Questions to ponder

"Things of this world," Pope Francis said, may "belong to Caesar," "man and the world itself belong to God: do not forget this!"

Jesus, the Pope continued, restores each one of us to his or her own identity.

The Pope then urged the faithful to ask themselves if they have they have this proper understanding, or need to overcome some personal hypocrisy.

"On the coin of this world," he said, "there is the image of Caesar, but which image do you carry within yourself? Whose is the image of your life?"

"Do we remember," he continued, "that we belong to the Lord, or do we let ourselves be shaped by the logic of the world and make work, politics and money our idols to be worshipped?"

Pope Francis concluded by praying that the Blessed Mother "help us to recognize and honour our dignity and that of every human being."

World Mission Sunday

Following the recitation of the Angelus and his appeal for peace, the Pope recalled that today marks World Mission Sunday with this year's theme entitled, “Hearts on Fire, Feet on the Move.” He encouraged everyone to join in and celebrate this day in their parishes and dioceses.

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22 October 2023, 12:08

The Angelus is a special prayer recited by Catholics three times a day, at 6am, noon, and 6pm and is accompanied by the ringing of the Angelus bell. The name comes from the Latin word for Angel and the prayer itself reminds us of how Jesus Christ assumed our human nature through the Mystery of the Incarnation.
The Pope recites the Angelus prayer in St Peter’s Square every Sunday at midday.
He also gives a brief reflection on the Gospel of the day and often comments on some issue of international concern. The Pope’s words are broadcast all over the world on radio and television and widely shared on social media.
From Easter to Pentecost the Regina Coeli is prayed instead of the Angelus. This prayer commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and, like the Angelus, concludes with the recitation of the Gloria three times.

Latest Angelus / Regina Coeli

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