Matthew 22 15-21
That’s when the Pharisees plotted a way to trap him into saying something damaging. They sent their disciples, with a few of Herod’s followers mixed in, to ask, “Teacher, we know you have integrity, teach the way of God accurately, are indifferent to popular opinion, and don’t pander to your students. So tell us honestly: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
Jesus knew they were up to no good. He said, “Why are you playing these games with me? Why are you trying to trap me? Do you have a coin? Let me see it.” They handed him a silver piece. “This engraving – who does it look like? And whose name is on it?”
They said, “Caesar.”
“Then give Caesar what is his, and give God what is his.”
The Pharisees were speechless. They went off shaking their heads
Today’s Gospel begins with the Pharisees plotting against Jesus. They ask Jesus if it is lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar. The Pharisees ask the question only because they hope to trap Jesus by his answer. However, Jesus is well aware that they only want to discredit him in the people’s eyes. Jesus knew that regardless of how he answered the question, it would be wrong in the mind of the Pharisees. Thus he doesn’t answer the question directly.
Jesus decides to take a different approach. He asks for the coin that typically was used for paying the census tax. Then he asks the Pharisees whose picture is on the coin. Naturally they reply that it is Caesar’s picture. Then Jesus responds to their question. His statement is very concise: they should give to Caesar what belongs to him!
But then Jesus added a few simple but powerful words: “repay to God what belongs to God!”
All that we have comes from our loving God! Today what can you give to God? What can I give to God? Perhaps we can simply give God some quality time and attention! It may be all that God longs for!