「Spiritual Talk」Twenty-ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

Date: 2020-10-17
Audio Segment Types: Spiritual Talk
Languages: Cantonese

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Brief description:

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Twenty Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time and today’s Gospel reading comes from Matthew 22:15-22. The Pharisees, Herodians, and other religious leaders were trying to ensnare Jesus with questions and they asked Him whether it was lawful to pay tax to Caesar. If Jesus responded yes, the Jews would see Him as a traitor to the Romans; if He responded no, then He could be accused of sedition before the Romans. Jesus instead accused His questioners of hypocrisy for asking Him questions out of a desire to test Him instead of a desire to discover the truth – they were doing the work of the devil. He told them to bring out a Roman coin – it had the image of a pagan god or king and was seen as idolatrous by the Jews. The religious leaders immediately brought such a coin, showing how they were just as worldly as the tax collectors they so despised. Jesus asked them whose image was on the coin and they responded, “Caesar’s.” He then said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and give to God what is God’s.” In those days, there were two taxes: a national tax to support the administration and a temple tax to support the liturgy and charitable works. Coins bearing pagan gods or kings had to be exchanged before paying the temple tax, so at the most basic level, Jesus was simply pointing out which coin could be used to pay tax. But at a deeper level, He was saying that we have a duty to the state. In the end, however, countries will end and what they can give us is limited, while we all have the image of God and belong to the everlasting Kingdom of God. History is filled with Caesars who sought to appropriate God’s majesty, such as the state worship demanded by Communism. Christians ought to strongly resist such tendencies.