Homily October 19, 2014 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time
In looking at today’s gospel, many people in this country would say that it is a perfect defense of the separation of church and state. On the face of it sounds simple, but in no way can we see it this way. In those times the church was the state and the state was the church. Remember the Roman emperor was considered a god, and in Israel, the country was ruled through the leaders of the temple. The question to Jesus was to ask if they should comply with another nation, a worshiper of false gods. What should they do, should they pay the tax? This is one of the times Jesus became annoyed and inquired who was on the coin. Immediately he told them that what was human and worldly was on their shoulders, but the rest belonged to God. The questioners had coins, they were working the system so to speak, but were they giving God his due? Through the centuries Israel had been taken over by foreign countries, but faithfulness to God got them through. Jesus reminded them of that in his reply.
For us today, it means the need to work first in our religious community to bring ourselves to God, but also within the worldly community to bring a peace and togetherness to all human beings in the world. Impossible? Most likely, but then these things can happen one thing at a time, one encounter at a time. We are in an age when we see things go “viral” as they say, and who knows when the spirit might move the mass of human beings. When in history has the world been so informed of the suffering of the huge numbers of humankind? When has it seen poverty to the extent it does today? The same for hunger, in the far reaches of the world. These and other crisis events are seen every day. It is in the news, on our computers, our tablets, our tv’s, actually inescapable. Do we just ignore it? They are things that the coins and goods of the world should be caring for. The people we see, we should be reaching out to for they belong to God and we should care for them.
It seems so simple, use your earthly goods for sharing and your spiritual goods to bring Christ to others. But we know that it is ongoing and endless task. It is one person at a time, an endless line of those in need. This is what God has planned for us, what we are asked to answer. What his son has given to us. is a challenge we begin, but which He will bring to an end.