Saturday, October 15, 2011

"give back to God what belongs to God": every human being bears the “image” of God and so belongs to Him

We are what we worship.

From José Antonio Pagola:

The question that some Pharisees put to Jesus, in collaboration with the Herodians, was evidently aimed to trap him: “Is it permissible to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

If he said that it was licit, Jesus would be discredited before the people who would turn against him, and become easy prey for the Pharisees. If he said that it was not licit, he could be accused of being an agitator of the people against the Romans – who had flocked to the streets of Jerusalem for the Easter celebrations. Any such provocation could result in a rebellion against Caesar.

Without getting into any argument, Jesus just asked them, “Let me see the money you pay the tax with.” And he added, “Whose head is this, whose name?” They replied: “Caesar’s Tiberius, son of the divine Augustus.” Jesus, with that simple question, left them speechless.

Jesus, then, drew his own conclusion: if that image belongs to Caesar, “Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.” Return the coin to Caesar, as a symbol of his political power. You have been using the coins as barter in all your business transactions. Just follow those rules.

Jesus, however, is not subject to the Emperor of Rome, rather “seeking the kingdom of God and his justice”, and so he adds something that nobody had asked him: “Very well, give back to God what belongs to God.” That coin had the image of Tiberius, but every human being bears the “image” of God and so belongs to Him. Never sacrifice humans to any power. On the contrary, protect them.

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