We can be funny creatures: we complain about potholes, slow mail service, etc., but we don’t like to pay the taxes that provide for all these services. Some people complain about the politicians running the country or the state or the city, but they never vote. Our Gospel today, in which Jesus answers the question about paying taxes to Caesar, tells us we have to be involved both in worldly concerns and
spiritual concerns: we need to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.
One way of looking at this is that we need the help and support of community both in worldly matters and spiritual matters. When we have a strong civic community, a community that works together for the common good and not individual interests, we have a well-oiled, functioning society: safety, good roads, mail service, hospital care, snow removal, etc. We cannot survive without the support of each other in our various tasks and positions.
The same is true in the spiritual life: it is difficult to live Gospel values, to forgive 77 times, to initiate a process of reconciliation when we are the aggrieved party, to be pleased that someone who worked only one hour has what is needed to feed the family – all the challenges we have been hearing in our Gospels during Ordinary time. Our parish community comes together to hear the word of God and receive the Eucharist, so that these things can strengthen us AS A COMMUNITY to be supportive of each other, as we give to Caesar what he deserves (our contribution to the welfare of all) and to God what he deserves.
One final comment: everything we do, including our civic duty, needs to be influenced by the Gospel value of love: love of God shown through love of neighbor. If not, no one will benefit, including ourselves. I invite us to reflect this week on the importance of
community in both our civic and spiritual lives. God bless.
Church sign of the week: What you have, give; what you lack, seek.