Reflection on Scripture Twenty-ninth Sunday Gospel A What belongs to God

By 10:25 AM

 Twenty-ninth Sunday Gospel A

Then the Pharisees went off and plotted how they might entrap him in speech.

· We have another confrontational story between the leaders and Jesus.

· The question that is posed is intended to back Jesus in a corner. Either he will have to side with the majority of the people who oppose this taxation or he will have to support the Roman authorities.  In either case, he will alienate someone.

· Notice how Jesus is not interested in pleasing either one, but only God.

 They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. And you are not concerned with anyone's opinion, for you do not regard a person's status. Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?"

· Do we at times say the right words but we do not mean them? How and when have we been deceptive in our words?

· The Pharisees would be opposed to the payment of the tax; the Herodians would be in favor.

 Knowing their malice, Jesus said, "Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? Show me the coin that pays the census tax." Then they handed him the Roman coin.

· By the very fact that they were able to show him such a coin in their possession indicate that they were explicitly acknowledging the right of Rome to tax.

 He said to them, "Whose image is this and whose inscription?" They replied, "Caesar's." At that he said to them, "Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God." 

· Jesus avoids taking sides. But he raises a more important concern: their debt to God for all he has done for them.  Do we sometimes get caught up with less important things and not focus on that which is more important?

· Do I give to each that which is due to that person? Do I give to God what belongs to God? This is true justice.

· Do I sometimes please human beings rather than God for fear of displeasing them?

· What is my attitude when I am rendering to another and to God what is their due? Do I do it grudgingly or with joy and a sense of rightness? Where else do I fall short in following the Word of God?

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