MY daily reflection and prayer: Sunday, October 19, 2014
Dear my friends,
Here is the Gospel for us today, according to St. Mathew 22:15-21.
The Pharisees went off and plotted how they might entrap Jesus in speech. They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. And you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion, for you do not regard a person’s status. Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?”
Knowing their malice, Jesus said, “Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? Show me the coin that pays the census tax.” Then they handed him the Roman coin. He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” They replied, “Caesar’s.” At that he said to them, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”
In the context of paying taxes, the Jews pose a dilemma to test Jesus to see if He is loyal to the rule of Roman authorities or to their understanding of religion. If Jesus answers that it is lawful to pay taxes to a pagan ruler, then He will lose His credibility with the Jewish nation who will regard Him as a coward and a friend of Caesar. If He says it is not lawful, then the Pharisees will have reasons to report Him to the Roman authorities as a political trouble-maker and have Him arrested.
Jesus is very genuine and wise to answer the trap. Genuinely He asks them, “Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? Show me the coin that pays the census tax.” They then hands Him the Roman coin. He says to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” They replies, “Caesar’s.” At that Jesus says to them, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”
What does it mean for us today? Jesus avoids their trap by confronting them with the image of a coin. In the ancient world coinage has significant political power. Rulers issues coins with their own image and inscription on them. In a certain sense the coin is regarded as the personal property of the ruler. Jesus explains that what belonged to Caesar must be given to Caesar. Why? Because, at the time, the Jews used the Roman currency in which the icon of Caesar was exposed.
Furthermore, this story has another deeper meaning as well. Jesus gives theological meaning about the image of God. According to the Old Testament, especially the book of Genesis, God has made us as His image. We have been stamped with God’s image and likeness since we are created in His own likeness (see Genesis 1:26-27). And so we rightfully belong to God who has created us and redeemed us in the precious blood of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ (see 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
In Perpetual Adoration of the Eucharist, we worship God who has made us. There, we realize that our lives and everything we possess are belonging to God and not to urselves. So, we give to God what rightfully belongs to Him. We may act as the image of God as well.
Let’s pray: Lord Jesus Christ, God, ou Father has made us as His image. Make us taste by Your love. Draw us to you, oh, Lord, in the fullness of Your love. We are wholly Yours by creation; make us all yours, too, in love, that we are able to love everybody, now and forever. Amen.
Have a nice Sunday!
Girli Kebon Dalem
“abdi Dalem palawija”
Majalah INSPIRASI, Lentera yang Membebaskan
Komisi Hubungan Antaragama dan Kepercayaan Keuskupan Agung Semarang