Dear Believers in the Christ,
Today’s gospel, Matthew 22:15-21, invites us once again into our true identity. What belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God?
Even in our day, we get confused as to what belongs to God and what belongs to the society in which we live. Our true identity does not rest in the nation in which we live. As Christians, our home is in God, the Kingdom that has broad and far reaching boundaries. Our ultimate home rests in the Kingdom prepared for us by the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ Jesus.
These lines are constantly blurred even in our day and age. We face the legality of abortion, yet we are called to uphold the dignity of all life. We go to war, yet we should stand before God as peacemakers. We live with the death penalty, yet God desires us to uphold life to it’s natural end. We sometimes tell people in poverty to get their acts together, pull themselves up by their bootstraps, yet we hear from Jesus that the poor and outcasts will inherit the very Kingdom to which we all belong. We want to build walls that separate nations and yet we are challenged by God to welcome people, to offer hospitality, to build up the Kingdom of God here on earth. We shun the alcoholic, the person with mental illness and the person who speaks a foreign language, yet in the Kingdom of God, all are welcome.
In the Kingdom, God tells us that the last shall be first. The poor will find healing and love before we can find it ourselves. Jesus reminds us that tax collectors and prostitutes will enter the Kingdom of Heaven before the religious leaders of the day. Although we may serve others under great power and wealth, God challenges us to step into life and faith with profound humility and powerlessness.
Here are some questions for you to consider this week:
How do you determine what belongs to “Caesar” and what belongs to God?
What obstacles and challenges do you face in determining how to move beyond our cultural boundaries into the mystery of God?
How do you see the overall dignity of life that God has in mind for us going against our cultural values?
Can you describe such obstacles?
How do you interpret faith in light of the differences?
How does prayer form your notion of what belongs to God?