SUNDAY HOMILY: 29TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A
Homily Theme: “Give to what belongs to Caesar!”
By: Fr. Justus Oruma
In my estimation, this verse of the Bible, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God, what belongs to God” (Mat. 22:21), is one of the most misrepresented and most misinterpreted part of the Bible, used by many to support the double standards they play in life.
The question, “is it lawful to pay Tax to Caesar or not” was posed to put Jesus to test. The beauty of Jesus’ reply; “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God” lies on the fact that it depicts the obligations and contributions we owe to state and to our religious community and that these obligations should not come in conflict with the Faith in God. We are to give to Caesar (the Government), so long as giving to him implies giving to God. We are obliged to respect civil and church authorities so long as their laws and degree respect God. We should not obey human laws contrary to the Divine Law (The Commandments)
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Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God does not therefore mean or set before us, two irreconcilable standards or principles but one, all encompassing End which is; “The God’s Will”. Everything, every civil responsibility ought to be to the glory of God. Everything belongs to God. After all, Caesar and all he has belong to God. “The earth is the LORD’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it” including Caesar. (Ps. 24:1). The Coin with the Image of Caesar has the following inscription; “Tiberius Caesar, August Son of the Divine”. Here there is already the acknowledgment of the divine origin of Caesar Augustus’ power together with Tiberius, the adopted child. Taking the coin, Jesus asked, whose image is that? Caesars, they replied. We are talking not of the coin here but of the handlings of the human persons bearing the image of God.
On the coin is the image of Caesar, on Caesar is the Image of God.
May God help us, all the religious and civil authorities to acknowledge Him as the source of all we have, and that all authority and power belong to Him.
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