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Theology for the common man

29 Sunday in Ordinary Time A

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Once Jesus starts to teach about the Kingdom of God, he is under fire from his enemies who are always looking for a reason to accuse and sentence him to death. Although chosen by God, he was not free from persecutions, not only from the civic authorities (Romans) but also from his kinsmen, the religious leaders of Israel. One more time Jesus gives a testimony about his divine mission and very accurately he shows to his followers how they should precede facing difficult cases from the borderland of faith and civic powers. A case, which is supposed to be a trap to catch Jesus, serves here as a good explanation of the relationship between civic power and religion, between duties related to belonging to an earthly society and a worship of God, meaning, to the faithfulness to God in our own conscience. A Roman coin that pays the census tax, on which an image and a sign of Cesar was, served as a resolution of a question of paying taxes to a civic authority; at the same time, it serves Jesus to remind the people about their duties toward God because of their eternal origin. “Then repay to Cesar what belongs to Cesar and to God what belongs to God.” Following this teaching of Jesus, we would also have similar situations, being persecuted because of our convictions even if we try to be faithful to the duties of civil authority. In the last case, we have to discern what belongs to the space of our conscience, which cannot be subordinated to a civil power, because it doesn’t always match with the commandments of God. We see the contradiction of conscience (God’s commandments) and rules of civil power especially in: divorce, euthanasia, abortion, unbridled education and frivolous sexual behavior; all those things are allowed from a point of a civil law. Each Christian should know that although secular law gives consent on some things on this earth, there are cases reserved only for God and then one should follow them and have one's conscience be one's guide. Let’s give then to Cesar what belongs to him and to God what belongs to divine matters.