So the question is: how do we know what belongs to God and what belongs to Ceaser? Perhaps we might be tempted to say that everything belongs to God, but that does not seem to be what Jesus is implying.
The question of belonging is also present in our first and second readings. Cyrus, whom Isaiah describes as anointed in our first reading, was the King of Persia. Though he was not an Israelite, he was an “agent of the Lord” and permitted Israel to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple. He was a pagan, but also anointed. He did not know God, but was called by God.
And so we ask ourselves, in what category did Cyrus belong?
The reality is that everything belongs. We live according to both Caesar and God for we must live in a world governed by laws of human making and those of God, but we keep trying to choose one or put them in competition with each other.
CLICK HERE for the readings for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Isaiah 45:1,4-6; Psalm 96; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5; Matthew 22:15-21).