Ordinary Time, 29th Sunday. The Pharisees try to trap Jesus with a clever question. They ask, “Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Cesar or not?”
If Jesus answers Yes, the people will be angry.
If Jesus answers No, the government will be angry.
Jesus replies with one of the best one-liners in history: “Repay to Cesar what belongs to Cesar, and to God what belongs to God.”
If the coin has Cesar’s image, then give it back to him.
But us, whose image to do we bear? We bear the image and likeness of God himself. That means that we belong to God. In our first reading to day from Isaiah, God claims ownership even of a foreign king who does not believe in Him. How then could He fail to own us, His baptized Children? Too often we forget the One we belong to and we tarnish His image. We often fail to see the image of God in our neighbors. The poem, “The Touch of the Master’s Hand” by Myra B. Welch reminds us that we are worth far more than we realize.
Repay to Cesar what belongs to Cesar, and to God what belongs to God… but even Cesar belongs to God.
(16 Oct 2011)