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Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time — Oct. 22, 2023

Bishop’s Reflections

October 22, 2023

Every Sunday, Bishop Edward Malesic writes a Scripture reflection for the faithful. Follow the bishop on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Click HERE for the readings.

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time — Oct. 22, 2023

The Pharisees and the Herodians disagreed on nearly everything, but they were united in their dislike of Jesus of Nazareth. They wanted to make him fall and so they asked Jesus, “Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?”

They thought it was a question that Jesus could not answer without getting into deep trouble somehow. If he said it was lawful to pay the census tax, he would anger those who opposed the Roman occupation of Jerusalem (those who sympathized with the Pharisees). But if he said it was unlawful to pay the census tax, he would enrage the other side (the Roman authorities who were supported by the Herodians).

Jesus would not be outdone by their trick question. He asked them to hand him the coin used to pay the tax and they handed him a Roman coin. Interesting, since imprinted on the coin was the image of Caesar as a god. That they had such a coin on their person makes these accusers hypocrites already. They are carrying an idolatrous image in their pocket!

Jesus goes on to say that since the coin had Caesar’s imprint on it, the coin belonged to Caesar: “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.”

But then Jesus added that they must repay to God what belongs to God.

Here is the implication. The coin has the imprint of Caesar stamped into its metal and even though he is displayed as a god, Caesar is no god. But we, on the other hand, have God’s imprint stamped onto our souls and we belong to the true, living God. And what belongs to this true and living God, us, must be given back to God.

Do we give ourselves as “made in God’s likeness” to anything else than to God Himself, to whom we belong by our very nature?

Have a blessed week everyone and continue to pray for peace in the Holy Land and for all innocent lives who are in harm’s way there.

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