(October 18, 2020) Isaiah 45, 1 + 4-6; Psalm 96; 1 Thessalonians 1, 5-6; Matthew 22, 15-21

By + Guy Sansaricq

In today’s Gospel excerpt, we admire Jesus’ famous response to the Pharisees “GIVE TO CAESAR WHAT BELONGS TO CAESAR AND TO GOD WHAT BELONGS TO GOD.”

The very tricky Pharisees had asked Jesus if the people should pay taxes to the hated occupying Roman government. Should Jesus answer YES to the question, he would at once be denounced as an enemy of his own nation. On the contrary, should he respond NO, the oppressive Roman army would surely execute him as a political trouble maker!  Jesus displayed great wisdom in his response.

He stated: “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.” In every society, there is a political system that has its rights and duties. Therefore, citizens no matter the circumstances are bound to certain inescapable obligations. This principle is undeniable!

He added: “GIVE TO GOD WHAT’S BELONG TO GOD.”That basic principle is too frequently ignored.  When we chose to HONOR GOD in the first place, all subsequent decisions flow readily from that fundamental option. Then Peace, harmony and happiness easily flourish in human society.

Jesus thus dodged the trick of the Pharisees by a simple statement of enlightening principles while avoiding enmeshing himself into messy political debates. We too must learn to stress in the first place the guiding principles of our faith and let all our decisions concord with them.