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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Give to Caesar what is Caesar's

Gospel Mt 22:15-21
The Pharisees went off
and plotted how they might entrap Jesus in speech.
They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying,
"Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man
and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
And you are not concerned with anyone's opinion,
for you do not regard a person's status.
Tell us, then, what is your opinion:
Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?"
Knowing their malice, Jesus said,
"Why are you testing me, you hypocrites?
Show me the coin that pays the census tax."
Then they handed him the Roman coin.
He said to them, "Whose image is this and whose inscription?"
They replied, "Caesar's."
At that he said to them,
"Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God."

At the time of Jesus, the Jews were occupied by the Roman Empire and Jesus did not take sides in the above discussion. Again he emphasized the need to maintain reverence and loyalty to God. The Pharisees described Jesus as "Teacher", truthful, and one who did not "regard a person's status." Jesus did not say these things about himself. However, Jesus was a threat to the Pharisees and the Jews in general, because he had come to bring a new covenant. No longer was merely the careful following of the laws of tradition and of scripture enough. One had to show faith in God and in Jesus himself, to be counted among the saved, and in so doing follow the teachings of Christ and his disciples in how to live, love, and spread the gospel.

Jesus I pray today that your blessings and answering of my prayer continue, that I can witness to your love, faithfulness and generosity. May I be worthy of your good and spread your word gladly and copiously. May I strive to show the greatness of God without emphasis on the greatness of the world, and help those who have not yet heard your word, and who may be suffering or less fortunate. We are all sinners and yet strive to know you and correct our wrongs. In your name, amen.

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