Tell us 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."
"Show me the coin."
In this reading, Jesus brilliantly dodges another trap set for him. Taking a tiny little coin with Caesar’s image on it Jesus said: “give to Caesar what his Caesar’s;” and then he drops a bomb shell on his adversaries by saying: and give “to God what belongs to God."
Yes, of course, we must do our civic duty and pay our taxes, but the more important question is: What are we giving God? Few of us shirk our civic duty; all of us pay our taxes. But, many of us are shortchanging God. And, the currency that matters to God is love. What God values from us is love of neighbor. What He values most is compassion.
Jesus was saying that day that we have a dual citizenship. We are citizens of two worlds, citizens of this world and citizens of heaven. We too must give to Caesar – the government – what is their due; and God what is His.
- Are you giving to God what is God’s?
- What about our lives belongs to God?
- So what do you owe him?
Don't be cheap!
That is what we are called to contemplate this week in our reading.