From a Homily on Oct 19th:
and to God what belongs to God."
Some interpret Today's Gospel as dealing with the separation between Church and State, while others focus on We belong to God. Therefore we should give ourselves 100% to God.
The first thing we should note is that the question put to Jesus was meant to trap Him not seek His wisdom.
The Pharisees hated the Roman tax. The Herodians, those Jews who supported the Roman puppet King Herod, supported the tax. Both these groups hated each other, but they joined together to trap Jesus for their own reasons.
As Jews, both these groups should have rejected graven images as violations of the First Commandment. But Jesus asks them for a coin, which they gave Him.
It is Important to Note that both they and Jesus were in the
area when this incident took place. Note, too, that the Roman coin had the carved
image of the infamous Tiberius Caesar. Temple
No good Jew would be caught with such a coin on the
grounds, the holiest site in all of Judaism. Temple
Whose image do others see when they look at our life? When people see us, do they see Jesus engraved upon us? To the extent that they do, that's the extent to which we belong to the
. Kingdom of God
So these questions remain: What is Caesar’s, and what is God’s?
Is there anything at all that is not God’s – is there anything at all in human activity that does not stand under God’s judgment? Are we, as modern day Americans, exempting anything from God’s attention?
Jesus’ response indicates that one’s citizenship does not have to be at odds with one’s faith; in fact, when government seeks to provide for the just welfare of its citizens, it becomes a vehicle for establishing the reign of God.
we have benefited from separation of church and state. We have a democracy, not
a theocracy, and that has served us well. We have freedom of religion. United States
But where is it written that freedom of religion means freedom from religion? Are people of faith obliged not to express their beliefs and put them into practice in the public domain?
We must remember that while rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s, we must still render to God what is God’s.
Does God have expectations of us with regard to our civic order? Are our public policies to be exercised freed from God’s norms and apart from God’s will?
Freedom of religion isn’t confined to how one worships on Sunday. People of belief should be able to practice in public what they belief in Sunday worship.
Thomas Jefferson and many of our founding forbearers clearly held to the position that we must be a moral nation if our republic is to endure.
The founders of our nation had strong religious beliefs and they founded our nation on firmly held positions that derived from their faith in God.
Our Creator, they declared, endows us with unalienable human rights.
Abraham Lincoln, in his monumental effort to preserve our union repeatedly appealed to God in his famous and powerful speeches.
None of these men would subscribe to the notion that freedom of religion means freedom from religion in our civic life and in the fabric of our republic.
What, then, is Caesar’s and what is God’s? Reasonable people may differ in the application of answers to that question.
However, No matter how much reasonable people may differ, it is unreasonable to assert the notion that our American republic was built on the secularist notion that freedom of religion in these
means freedom from religion in our public affairs. United States
God and Caesar do not have to be at odds, Jesus tells the Pharisees. In God, we realize the dignity of every man, woman and child as sons and daughters of God and our brothers and sisters.
In setting up systems of government, we provide for the common good of one another and protect the welfare of all, providing for public safety, educational opportunities and clean water and air.
What is Caesar’s and what is God’s? The question is just as important to us now as it was when it was put to Jesus.
And so is its answer.
Remember -Your vote matters.
What Belongs to God - You Do!
We Our His Treasure!
In All that we Say and Do,
May Jesus Christ Be Praised, Now and Forever, Amen!