Jesus Christ is the master of every situation. He recognizes hypocrisy and exposes with the light of truth. Jesus steadfastly faces his enemies courageously, knowing well what they seek and taking their challenge and beating them on their own game.
We, as Christians, we know that our ultimate hope does not lie with political powers or rulers. We also know that the way we live in the world matters. And for that we are going to find ways to talk to each other about the ways we see the world. We are going to listen. We are going to have to begin to see the difference as a gift. We are going to have to begin to see the difference as a gift.
We are going to have to get comfortable living with the tension that comes with the disagreement and living with unity with the Jesus Christ that is complex. We need to work together.
On this 29th sunday in ordinary time, Jesus challenges us to “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” We are being reminded the nature of our obligations to God and to our country. We should integrate into one harmonious reality the good qualities of being honest citizens of both Heaven and earth. Our faith does not excuse us from doing what we should as citizens but neither should our responsiblities as citizens but prevent us from doing our duty to God. The teaching of the church on these two aspects of our life offers us guide and it will become meaningfu; if we put it on practice. What can this mean in these hard days when families, communities and churches are splintering over political differences that seem unbridgeable? As we render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, we are a part of a civilized society and should establish collaborative relationships with others. From the need to organize and the need to determine the rights and duties and to set ways amd forms to contribute to the common good. Figuring out our taxes is the easy part and the difficult part is living out our social and political convictions with a Christ-like humility and with compassion. As citizens of the country, it is our obligations to pay for the services and previldges that government provides, to elect the most suitable candidates and to respect the laws of our country in order to live in peace. Being a law-abiding citizen means being honest, responsible and to follow the law – even the simplest law. It is also our duty to take care of people, not just pay our taxes.
To render God what belongs to God is to bring forth fruit from the multitude gifts and graces God has bestowed and to love Him with all our heart, our soul and mind and to love our neighbor. If we are really belong to God, if we are really fashioned in God’s image, then we need to practice our faith and our political aspects in many ways that reflect who God is – whether we like leaders or not. It’s a question that reminds us that God is love. Our first and highest debt is to love. As an image-bearer of loving, forgiving and gracious God, what we owe to god is the very grace, generosity and love he extends to me and all of us. Christ commands us to live out both with truth, justice and responsiblity and to be one with Him.
As we seek to live out God’s purpose in our life, we pray with this gospel to reinforced for us the importance of examining our own entrapments and motivations in how we respond to God’s call. We pray that each one of us and our government leaders cultivate a pure heart to give our best for the good of the church and our country and be a faithful follower of Christ. And as it is written, “We give thanks to God for all of you remembering, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor, love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Source: Neo Jeremiah Voice of the Young Prophet October 22, 2017 issue.