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give to caesar

Matthew 22:15-21

The Pharisees sought to trap Jesus. They do not proceed honestly, but by stealth, using the gifts they have from God for their own purposes, not those of God; they were led by the Evil One, who so often offers to guide us where we think our self interests lie. They seek to flatter Jesus by calling him ‘Teacher’, when they have no intention of learning anything because they already think they are wise. They think that Jesus has only two answers – to collude with the Romans or to defy them, either way they will have him in a trap. But Jesus allows them to fall into their own trap – pointing out their hypocrisy.

There is not, he tells them, an opposition to giving to the rulers of society what is due to them, and giving one’s soul to God. The coin of Caesar is gold, the coin of God is humanity. Each of us is made in that image, and we owe that image to God; through the Church and its sacraments we can be transformed – if we repent of our sins and follow Jesus. But if, like the Pharisees, we rely on our wisdom and use it to try to trick God, then we shall come, at last, to separation from Him.

We reflect the image of God when we feed on love, grow in faith and hope, strengthen ourselves in the virtues of patience, humility and obedience. Thus do we grow in His likeness and render unto Him the thing that is His – ourself.