God speaks to Cyrus. Find three lines in the reading from Isaiah that indicate God's good relationship with Cyrus. What does it mean to say God opens doors for Cyrus? What doors has God opened for people you know? What doors might God be opening for you? How will you answer as God's calls your name?
God is full of endless surprises. Who would have imagined that God would use a pagan king to free the Israelites from their Babylonian captors? But that is exactly what happened in 538 B.C. Cyrus, king of Persia, conquered Babylon. He then liberated God's people and sent them home to Jerusalem to rebuild their temple. Today's first reading tells us that God called Cyrus God's "anointed." Even though Cyrus did not know the one true God, he acted as God's agent. Good people everywhere can carry out the will of God.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2
St. Paul thanks God for the people he is writing to and remembers them in his prayers. What is he remembering about these people that makes him grateful? What are the three most important virtues that he mentions here?
When St. Paul preached the good news, he was always careful to practice what he preached. Only in that way would people recognize the Holy Spirit speaking through him. Paul spoke with conviction, a strong belief backed up by a strong faith life.
How does your faith influence your citizenship?
Discussion Questions for Gospel
Jesus' enemies want to trap him and they start the conversation by saying nice things. What do they say? What is the trick question they finally ask? How does Jesus answer? What would you say that in your life belongs to Caesar? What belongs to God? Can you think of any issues in our country where the ideas of the government might be a problem to one who is trying to live for God?
Jesus too is full of surprises! When his enemies think they have laid the perfect trap for him, Jesus doesn't get caught. His questioners ask whether it is against God's law to pay taxes to the Roman emperor, a pagan ruler. If Jesus says yes, he will be in trouble with the Romans. If he says no, he will be in trouble with the majority of his own people. Jesus gives a masterful answer. He tells his questioners that if they use Caesar's money, then they have to pay for it. But they must also pay what belongs to God, who takes care of our needs. Jesus' answer addresses a much more important issue: our relationship with God.