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29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 16, 2011

PROPER ROLES

There are two lessons on our Gospel today:  1)  The message of Jesus in regards to the distinction of church and state; and 2)  the mean-ness of the Pharisees and us when the current model of church is found lacking or limited.

“Render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”  It is perhaps one of Jesus’ best known one-liners.

Briefly, I will you that what the Pharisees and Jesus were discussing was a particular head tax that had become symbolic political issue concerning the Zionist nationalist opposition to the occupying power of Rome.

For Jesus, supporting the tax meant offending his followers who believed he was advocating something more than subservience to Rome.  Speaking against the tax would have given Rome good reason to consider Jesus dangerous.

Of course, Jesus sees through the question to the intention behind the question – that is the hatred of the Pharisees as they try to trap Jesus so as to discredit him.  Nevertheless, his answer is a perplexing one – precisely because, where government and religion are concerned, things are never so simple.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time: (Isaiah 45:1, 4-6; Psalm 96:1, 3, 4-5, 7-8, 9-10; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5b; Matthew 22:15-21)

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