October 19, 2014 - 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Jesus is very clear that we are to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. That’s easy to say, but I think we have trouble deciding what belongs to whom.
And I think we do a better job giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s. We pay our taxes. We vote. We generally obey the laws. For the most part, we are good citizens.
But we Catholic Christians, which means we hold dual citizenship. Saint Paul reminds us that our citizenship is also in heaven.
Are we as good being citizens of the kingdom of heaven as we are being citizens of the United States?
It’s easy to know what we owe in taxes. We fill out the right forms and the government tells us what to give.
Jesus says we must also give to God what is God’s. So, today let us reflect on what is God’s.
The psalmist tells us that God’s is the earth and all its fullness, the world and all its peoples.
All of creation is God’s. Our very souls belong to God. Our very beings belong to God. Do we give our whole selves to God?
Are we willing to offer our lives to God or are we always seeking to file an extension so that we can hold out just a little longer?
If we do anything at all, we probably give God our leftovers.
If we have time leftover at the end of the week, we might give God an hour here in church.
If we have any money leftover at the end of the week, we might give some of it to God.
If we have any love leftover, we might give it to God.
Jesus challenges us, “Give to God what is God’s.”
We owe God our very lives but we give to God very little.
It’s a question of loyalty really. Jesus declares himself loyal to God. And so, what belongs to God is of greatest concern to him.
We are created by God, in God’s image, in God’s likeness.
We belong to God. Do we give to God what is God’s?
Giving to God what is God’s means allowing God to possess us completely. When God possesses us completely, we are at God’s disposal. We are available to do God’s will.
Giving to God what is God’s is about giving our hearts to God, giving our lives to God, giving our souls to God, giving our gifts and talents to God, giving our time to God, giving our loyalty to God.
God wants it all. God desires to possess us completely.
But, so often, we push God away. We keep God at arms length.
We are afraid that if we get too close, God will want everything. And that’s right. He will. He wants it all.
So, how can we give ourselves to God more completely? How can we give to God what God is due?
First, we can seek God in the ordinariness of our lives, in taking care of our homes, our kids, our aging parents, our neighbors, those who are like us, and those who are different.
Second, we can seek God in the poor and those who have no resources.
Finally, we can seek God in the sacraments of the Church. Jesus comes to us, body, blood, soul and divinity, to nourish and strengthen our souls so that we can draw closer to God.
The Roman coin bore the image of the Emperor Caesar who made it, our human souls bear the image and likeness of God who made us. We are his. We belong to him.
And God desires to possess us totally, completely.
Giving to God what is God’s is what Jesus calls us to do and should be woven into the very fabric of our lives.
We do a good job giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s.
I suspect we would be happier and holier if we learned to do a better job giving to God what is God’s.