But Don’t All Belong to God?

Tuesday of Week 9 in Ordinary Time

The question posed to Jesus by the Pharisees and Herodians goes well beyond the question of whether or not people should pay their taxes. With our history surrounding the issue, from “No taxation without representation” to “Money is speech,” the current climate of turmoil and unrest poses the dilemma of how our taxes might be used to repress the rights of citizens to express their discontent with the way they are treated by those who are supposed to protect them. It is an issue fraught with strong emotions. That is why Jesus’ response is most relevant. “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God.”

But technically, all belongs to God. And also technically, we think, speak, and act as people of faith who live in the current political setting. We don’t distinguish between our religious or our political motives, words, and behavior. It all comes from the same person regardless of how it is labelled. When defenseless citizens are treated with contempt and murdered by the police in broad daylight in the view of all, the injustice is an affront to people of all faiths and political persuasions. And the chaos that results is not the problem but the consequence. We need to quell the chaos, but we cannot continue to ignore the underlying injustices that caused it. And calling for lethal force in response to those protesting injury will not address the pain and suffering that these protests were meant to bring to the attention of our leaders. It is a delicate balance, and those who possess lethal power need to make the first move toward dialogue and reconciliation. Demanding that the injured roll over and obey simply perpetrates the cycle of injustice that has long deprived them of their voice and their dignity.

Pray for our nation. We do not need more turmoil and chaos, certainly not from those we elected to bring us together.

This mass was offered for the repose of +Emily Evans.

Rolo B Castillo © 2020

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