Today at Mass the priest began his homily by instructing the altar boys to pick up two boxes and to place them on opposite sides of the altar. Thinking that there was a canned food drive I was unaware of, I curiously scanned the crowd to see if anyone had a pile of Campbell’s soup cans setting next to them. Seeing no cans I directed my attention back to the priest as he continued what was an amazing homily that I would like to summarize and share 🙂
The Pharisees, by asking Jesus the question about the taxes, were trying to place Jesus’ response into one of two thought boxes: 1) Yes, pay the tax to Caesar or 2) No, don’t pay the tax to Caesar. Either answer could have been interpreted and twisted to make Jesus look bad, but Jesus didn’t allow the Pharisees to do this as he simply stated, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”
For the longest time, his reply didn’t make sense to me. Whenever I’d hear this reading at Mass, I’d think to myself, “What did Jesus mean by his answer?”
Well, today, I got it. Or at least the reading and the priest’s homily hit me in a profound way as my brain processed the words as a mathematical problem that sounded a bit like this:
If I am to give to God what belongs to God, and I was created in the image and likeness of God, then I am to give God everything that I have.
Everything that I have…
Those are some pretty powerful words, right? Powerful because everything is kind of a lot and powerful because it means constantly reminding myself that I don’t belong to a specific box. I am not defined by the past jobs I’ve held or the degrees I’ve obtained in school. I am not defined by how much money I earn or fail to earn nor by the type of car that I drive.
Do you ever define yourself based on your occupation or education level? Or do you ever define others because of their political party or favorite football team? If so, that is not necessarily a bad thing, but we must always remember that at the core of who we are, lies an imprint of God on our hearts. And so, just as Jesus answered the Pharisees’ question with an out of the box answer, we must not be afraid to do same when it comes to defending our faith and realizing our true identity as sons and daughters of God! 🙂