The Word of God

Taxing Questions

Reflection on Mass Reading for October 18, 2020

“Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?” Depending on how you view the scene, this question has traveled down as famous or infamous throughout the centuries. It has become a famous question because it almost always begins the age-old discussion about the relationship between the Church and the Government, or the State. It has become infamous because of the sinister motivation behind the ones asking this “trick-question” of Jesus. “Knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, ‘Why are you testing me?'”

Both perspectives are actually beneficial for us on the journey toward Heaven. The discussion about the Church-State relationship is important to distinguish authority, power, and society’s greater good. The Church should never be in the governing business, and the government should not be established as a spiritual force that mandates or even polices morality. And in this same paragraph, it is important to remember that not everyone who asks “religious” questions is really out for a religious outcome. People can hide behind the veil of piety to be right, access power, or obtain the upper hand in any given situation. Our First Reading gives us plenty of insight as to how to follow a straight and narrow path toward justice and peace: “I am the LORD and there is no other, there is no God besides me.”

As we begin a brand new week, let us keep the Lord always in our sights. What we believe defines who we are. The way we act, especially toward each other, announces to the world who we really are and what we truly believe. “For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction.”

“Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be.” Sonia Ricotti


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