"Any political movement directed against any body of our fellow-citizens because of their religious creed is a grave offense against American principles and American institutions. It is a wicked thing either to support or oppose a man because of the creed he possesses. . . . Such a movement directly contravenes the spirit of the Constitution itself." - President Theodore Roosevelt:
Gospel (Mk 12:13-17)
Some Pharisees and Herodians were sent
to Jesus to ensnare him in his speech.
They came and said to him,
“Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man
and that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion.
You do not regard a person’s status
but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?
Should we pay or should we not pay?”
Knowing their hypocrisy he said to them,
“Why are you testing me?
Bring me a denarius to look at.”
They brought one to him and he said to them,
“Whose image and inscription is this?”
They replied to him, “Caesar’s.”
So Jesus said to them,
“Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God.”
They were utterly amazed at him.
Today's Word, however, is something more than knowing how to successfully get out of a conflict; it is something utterly relevant to all aspects of our life: what am I giving God?; is it really what I prize more in my life? Where did I place my heart? Because... «where your treasure is, there will your heart be also» (Lk 12:34).
Yes, indeed, according to St. Jerome , «you must necessarily render unto Caesar the coin in his image; but you willingly give your best to God, because it is his image, not Caesar's, that is on us». Throughout his life, Jesus Christ constantly poses the matter of choice. It is up to us to choose, and our options are clear: either we choose the worldly values to live by or we decide to live by the Gospel's values.
It is always a time for choice before us, a time for conversion, a time to “replace” our life again in the dynamics of God. Our prayer, and specially the prayer made by God's Word, will gradually uncover for us what God expects of us. He who opts for God becomes God's dwelling place, for «if a man loves me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him» (Jn 14:23). And prayer becomes the true school where, as Tertulian says, «Christ teaches us which was the Father's purpose which He was carrying out in this world, and what a man's ethical behavior should be so that it is in agreement with this very purpose». If only we would succeed in choosing the right way that suits us!
Let us ask Our Lady to help us