20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Pay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God is certainly on the top ten of biblical quotes. Jesus said this to circumvent a difficult situation. Two groups, hostile to each other, united in an attempt to take him down.
The Herodians were a political party loyal to Herod, set up by the Romans, and worked hand in hand with them. The Pharisees were a conservative, ultra-orthodox Jewish group that wanted Israel to be a theocracy. Both groups felt threatened by Jesus. As a popular Jewish preacher, he was seen as a threat to the stability of the Roman occupation. As a rabbi, his “liberal” approach was seen as a threat to Jewish orthodoxy.
They thought they had come up with the perfect trap to stop this Jesus once and for all by asking: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not? If Jesus answered “yes,” the Pharisees would condemn him as a traitor to the Jewish people. If he answered “no,” the Herodians would have him arrested for inciting revolt. Jesus’ answer was simple—you know your obligations to the state and to God; now act on them!
Jesus’ answer is of utmost importance for us to hear today. We’re in the midst of a tremendous existential challenge. The divisions that are tearing our country apart have become so toxic that our republic is threatened. We cannot allow ourselves to be sidetracked by any one particular issue. Jesus looked at the bigger picture, and so must we. The big picture is clear—the healing of our democracy.
Let Us Pray:
Father, I pray for myself and my brothers and sisters throughout our nation. We’re hurting. We’re drowning in hate and anger. Deliver us from the grip of the evil one. Rend our hearts that they might beat in rhythm with your own. Heal us that we might love as you love and forgive as you forgive.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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