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Trick question didn’t stump jesus

Based on Is 45:1, 4-6; 1 Thes 1:1-5b; Mt 22:15-21

In the Gospel, Jesus uses a coin to answer a trick question and to teach a lesson.

The Pharisees were jealous of Jesus because he was popular with the people. They wanted to trap him into saying something that would get him into trouble. They asked Jesus, “Should we pay our tax to the Roman government or give the money to God?” 

The Pharisees thought Jesus would tell the people to give their money to God. They knew anyone who didn’t pay their taxes would be arrested and punished.

Jesus asked for a coin and asked whose image was stamped on it.

“Caesar, the Roman leader,” they answered. 

Jesus said, “Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what is God’s.”

Jesus meant we should respect authority. Laws are made to protect and help people, and are meant for the good of all citizens. God wants us to obey these laws, provided they are not against the laws of God.

At baptism, our souls are permanently stamped with the mark of the Holy Spirit – cleansing us of original sin and making us sons and daughters of God, members of the church and “citizens” of God’s kingdom.

What does Jesus want us to give to God? We are precious to God and everything in our life comes from God. He wants us to return his love by giving him the gift of ourselves and by sharing his love with others.

As committed, active “citizens” of God’s kingdom, we are to follow his Son Jesus and to help build his kingdom.

Lord Jesus, help us to respect authority – most of all, your authority that directs us to love others – and to give you what is yours – our entire selves.