October 22, 2023 (Is.45:1,4-6; 1Thess.1:1-5; Mt.22:15-21)
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Repay to Ceasar what belongs to Ceasar, and to God what belongs to God.
What do we owe God and our neighbor? Scripture tells us to give to everyone whatever is their due and to owe no one anything, except to love one another(Rom. 13:6-8). The Jewish authorities sought to trap Jesus in a religious-state issue. The Jews resented their foreign rulers and despised paying taxes tonCaesar. They posed a dilemma to test Jesus to see if he was loyal to them and to their understanding of religion. If Jesus answered that it was lawful to pay taxes to a pagan ruler, then he would lose credibility with the Jewish nation who would regard him as a coward and a friend of Caesar.
If he said it was not lawful, then the Pharisees would have grounds to report him to the Roman authorities as a political trouble-maker and have him arrested. However, Jesus avoided their trap by confronting them with the image of a coin that represented Ceasar, the owners name, and authority on it.
Significance: We have been stamped with Gods image and likeness. Indeed, this story has another deeper meaning as well. We, too, have been stamped with Gods image since we are created in his own likeness - God created man in his own image ...male and female he created them; (Gen. 1:26-27).
Conclusion: We rightfully belong not to ourselves, but to God who created us and redeemed us in the precious blood of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ (1Cor. 6:19-20). Paul the Apostle says that we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God (Rom.12:1).
Do you acknowledge that your life and everything you possess belongs to God and not to yourself? If so then, let’s give to God what rightfully belongs to him.