The Pharisees went off
and plotted how they might entrap Jesus in speech.
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?”
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.
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.”
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We have responsibilities as humans. We pay taxes, vote, and follow laws. These are our obligations as earthly citizens, but we also have obligations as children of God. We have to lovingly and obediently follow his commands. We give him the highest glory and honor. We worship God alone because only he is worthy of such high praise and honor. Jesus’ answer in this Sunday’s Gospel isn’t all-or-nothing. We live in a state of both-and. As we go about our worldly responsibilities, we also keep our sights on Heaven. We can’t get distracted by earthly things so much that we forget to give God what’s due to God.
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