Playing favorites isn’t fair! While nepotism isn’t illegal, the practice of giving family and friends special opportunity and privilege can have demoralizing effects on others. Morale crashes. Mistrust builds. And those who don’t get a chance walk away frustrated.
Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 ensured that boys and girls would have equal opportunity in sports. One aspect of the 1964 Civil Rights Act was the creation of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The notion of the “glass ceiling” and equal pay for equal work remains a topic of debate in political campaigns. This matter of impartiality comes up in conversation in today’s scripture.
The Pharisees set out to trap Jesus with his own words as he challenges the order they so zealously uphold and the tradition for which they demand respect. Not being courageous enough to engage him directly, they send some of their followers to challenge the one recognized by the people as the One. Instead of asking a religious question, they disguise their antagonism in the veil of secular political cover—taxes.
As so often happens in public forums, they preface their question with disingenuous speech. If Jesus says people aren’t obligated to pay taxes then Herod will engage Jesus, and the Pharisees will be off the hook. Yet, ironically, in their question’s preamble the Pharisees’ disciples speak an essential truth about Jesus: “You do not regard people with partiality.”
Jesus’ invitation is universal: “Come to me, all you” (Matt. 11:28). When Jesus plays favorites, his favorite is everyone!

Thank you, O Lord, for including me in your eternal community. Thank you for inviting all, for welcoming all to you. Amen.

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Leer Matthew 22:15-22

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Leccionario Semanal
October 16–22, 2017
Resumen de la Escritura

In Exodus 33 Moses successfully argues that without Yahweh’s merciful presence Israel is no nation and that Yahweh’s and Moses’ efforts have come to naught. Psalm 99 mentions Yahweh’s royal rule, which brings to mind the human agents of that rule: Moses, Aaron, and Samuel. Each of these leaders facilitated Yahweh’s conversation with the people and Yahweh’s rule over them. The opening lines from First Thessalonians raise a question about the church’s understanding of evangelism. Paul and his coworkers experience a change in themselves because of the Thessalonians, who become a living proclamation of the gospel by virtue of their ready acceptance of it. In the Gospel reading, Jesus answers a question with a question and confuses his “audience” both then and today.

Preguntas para la reflexión

• Read Exodus 33:12-23. When have you most longed for a glimpse of God’s glory? How did God give you the assurance you needed?
• Read Psalm 99. Where in your life is forgiveness needed to restore a loving relationship? How have you experienced “a forgiving God”?
• Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10. As your Christian faith has developed, how have you seen it move “from head to heart to hands”?
• Read Matthew 22:15-22. How do you give to God “the things that are God’s”? What are some of those things Jesus wants you to give?

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