Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity

Author: The Revd Dr Peter Toon


O GOD, our refuge and strength, who art the author of all godliness: Be ready, we beseech thee, to hear the devout prayers of thy Church; and grant that those things which we ask faithfully we may obtain effectually; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect Commentary

In this Prayer we address the Father, who is simply called ìGodî, through Jesus Christ, his Incarnate Son, who is also the Lord of all lords and Head of the Church of God. We speak ìthroughî because the Lord Jesus Christ, very God and very Man, is the one Mediator between God and man. And we anticipate that we are to bring to him some large petitions.

In addressing the Father, we recall in his presence, certain aspects of his nature and several of his characteristics and attributes, in order that in the light of these, we can make effective petition.

In images often used in the Old Testament, we think of God as our Refuge ñ the One in whom we can hide from the storms of life -- & God as our Strength ñ the One to whom we can look in time of storms. (See Psalm 46:1, ìGod is our hope and strength, a very present help in trouble.î ) Further we recall that, from him, through his Spirit ministering to Christian believers, proceeds all true faith, faithfulness, virtue and sound religion (= ìthe author of all godlinessî).

Since God is all this and more to us,his Church, we ask humbly, yet with confidence, that he will hear our devout (= as inspired by him) prayers. Further, we ask that he will not only hear but he will also answer for the good of the Church these petitions which we make as the faithful congregation of Christís flock.

1 John 5:14. ìThis is the confidence that we have of him: that if ask anything according to his will, he heareth us.î

The Epistle places before us the Return of Christ in glory to encourage our prayers and move us towards godliness. The Gospel presents to us Jesus, our Mediator, in his manhood, one with us.


Epistle Philippians 3.17-21

BRETHREN, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ; whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.


Gospel St Matthew 22.15-22

THEN went the Pharisees and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples, with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, what thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? shew me the tribute-money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.