Sunday 19th October – 29th Sunday of the year
Reflection: Matthew 22:15-21
FAITH AND CIVIL RESPONSIBILITIES
Today’s Gospel presents to us two groups with contrary views as regards Caesar: the Herodians and the Pharisees. The Herodians were friends of Caesar and of the Roman authority; though they were not Romans, they favored the house of Herod as the occupant of the Jewish throne; this made them friends of pagan Rome and Caesar. Another party was the Pharisees, who were a religious sect. They were Puritans concerning the Law and Jewish traditions; they refused to acknowledge any authority to Rome and hoped that one day the Jews under their Messiah-King would rule the world. Both groups were enemies, because while the Herodians were not particularly interested in religion, the Pharisees were.
However, the Pharisees tolerated the Herodians in conspiring against Jesus whom they saw as a common enemy, this shows the extent of their hatred for Jesus; their hatred for truth. (Dear friends, we too must be prepared at all times to face oppositions as we stand for what is right). If Jesus answered “No” to pay tax, would make Him a traitor to Caesar and punishable by death; to say “Yes” would make Him anti-national and the Pharisees would have painted Him black before the Jews. Jesus answered;
“Give unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God”
In this, our Blessed Lord says to the Herodians ‘service to the Government does not exempt you from service to God’, and to the Pharisees ‘service to God does not exempt you from service to the Government’. In this, we are reminded as Christians that we must submit to the civil authority, for there is no authority but by the act of God (Romans 13:1). We are expected to submit to authorities out of obedience to God and in everything, the desire to please God must be our aim.
Above all dear friends, we must pray for the Spirit of discernment to know what to say or do, and when to say or do it.
PRAYER: Lord, grant me the grace to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1900 – The duty of obedience requires all to give due honour to authority, and to treat those who are charged to exercise it with respect, and, insofar as it is deserved, with gratitude and goodwill.
HIDE A TREASURE: “Let everyone be subject to the authorities. For there is no authority that does not come from God, and the offices have been established by God.” Romans 13:1 CCB
Readings for Today: Isaiah 45: 1, 4-6, Psalm 96:1, 3-5, 7-10, Matthew 22:15-21