|Father Perry D. Leiker|
Actions always have consequences.
So if you eat contaminated food, you get sick. It is just logical.
Jesus makes that point as well in today’s Gospel.
If you use a particular currency, you are subject to the laws and limitations that are a part of that currency. It seems reasonable to presume that since the Pharisee had a Roman coin he was probably using that currency.
Israel was an occupied territory of the Roman Empire. Using Roman currency had its benefits, and it was a strong currency. But it also had its limitations – taxes were imposed. So Jesus applied the logic to the question presented to him: “Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar?”
If you use Roman currency, you are obligated by your use to pay taxes: “Pay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar” was Jesus’ reply. That’s just logical. That really wouldn’t, nor shouldn’t, be opposed to God’s law. It would appear that the question set to trap Jesus, in fact, trapped the Pharisee.
Jesus took it a step further and answered a question that was implied but was not asked. He said: repay “to God what is God’s.”
What does belong to God? Well ... everything! Are we giving all to God? Daily the Jews recited their Schema: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”
Actions always have consequences. To be in relationship with Caesar involves giving him certain things. To be in relationship with God means giving all to him, since all comes from him and belongs to him and shall return to him.
Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.