For some weeks now, in our Gospel readings, Jesus uses some parables in which he directly confronts and rebuke the Jewish leaders. It is therefore expected that they will react; Of course, you cannot beat a child and at the same time ask him not to cry. So, today in our Gospel reading, they took counsel, they came together to launch a counter attack.
They raised a question with the intention of making Jesus shoot himself on the foot. Listen to their introduction, ‘teacher, we know that you are true, and teach the way of God truthfully, and care for no man for you do not regard any position of man.’ Mt. 22:16. Their problem is not so much about Jesus teaching but that he will not bend the truth because of any human position. So, they decided to put Jesus in a ‘dilemma.’ Is it or is it not lawful to pay taxes to Caesar? If he says no, he will have been termed a rebel and the Roman soldiers will come for him immediately.
If he says Yes, there is the risk of standing discredited in the eyes of the people who sees him as the one to liberate them from the hands of their oppressors. So, it was almost a perfect trap for Jesus. But, imagine house flies having meetings on how to deal with the broom. In their ignorance they never realized that they are dealing with wisdom himself. Jesus knew their plan and his response is what I need you to pay attention to: ‘Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God’. This is one part of the bible that people often interpret wrongly.
You will be shocked that even thieves make use of this quotation. You see some people advising their friend on something not Godly, make reference to this expression. Here is the point, in their time, coinage was the sign to show the reality of the kingship or the reign of a particular king. So, it is held to be the property of the reigning king. This coin only last and useful only during the reign of that king. Jesus with the unique wisdom with his response teaches us today: First, man lives in a state, enjoys services in the state, this places him under an obligation to be responsible to the state.
Because Christians are supposed to be men and women of integrity, then they should and they must be responsible citizens. It is therefore unchristian to be in a society and not partake in what will bring about growth and development. Secondly, see the joker that Jesus played, he said, ‘Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God. The question is, ‘what actually belongs to Caesar?’ All good gifts come from the Father above. Even Caesar belongs to God.
Therefore, in all that we do, the God factor should be given the priority. We should always seek God’s will. That is the only way we can be in the state without allowing ourselves to be carried away by all the evils in it. We owe God everything, it is therefore wrong to be a Christian only in Church and not in your office. Do not be an angel in the Church, saints in the street but devils in your offices and places of work. While being involved in the activities in the state ensure the spirit of God guide you.
You cannot be a bad citizen on earth and expect to be a good citizen of heaven. It does not work that way. We have the mission to show Jesus to the world. That is why the Holy father has directed that despite the fact that this year is marked with suffering and challenges created by Covid19, our missionary journey continues. We have to say always like Isaiah, ‘Here I am Lord send me.’ This, according to him is the ever-new response to the call of God.
We are all on mission, we have been created for different purposes. You observe that every establishment has a mission statement of what they stand for. How many of us are faithful to those statements? where is our commitment, where is our dedication to the common good? We have no excuse to love genuinely and to serve faithfully. It is good we have come together as a people, putting aside our differences to fight a just cause. It is a noble cause as we all say No to brutality, and Yes to life.
Let us know that SARS is a microcosm of our bigger problems as a nation. Our disrespect and disregard for human life and dignity generally is worrisome. You are ‘Sars’ if as a civil servant you refuse to move the file of an ordinary person because he cannot settle you, his life and that of his family may depend on that file, you just killed without gun. You are a ‘SARS’ if as a Priest or Pastor fail to speak the truth, cajole to get money or popularity.
You are a ‘sars’ if as a parent you bribe teachers and authorities to have your children passed and promoted. You are a ‘sars’ if as a lecturer you force female students to sleep with you for marks. You are a ‘Sars’ if as a student you fail to study and continue to maneuver your way throughout your school days. Are you not a ‘sars’ when you cheat people and even continue selling expired products to the populace You are ‘sars’ if as a government official you refuse to listen to the cry of your people and look for ways to silence the voice of truth. We have the mission of making our world a better place to be. This we do by praying to God to help us and by being responsible citizens. God bless his words in our hearts.