‘Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar –
and to God what belongs to God.’
Of course, everything in the end belongs to God, but meanwhile we have the use of it for different purposes. Jesus is saying in today’s gospel that we need to give the state its rightful due, in this case in the form of taxes, something we are all very familiar with. I suggest, though, that he means more than finance. In this country, in our century, we live in a democracy, and we should be giving time and attention to the way in which we are governed. Pope Francis in ‘Evangelii Gaudium’, his Apostolic Exhortation of 2013, is emphatic on this point (section 183):
‘No-one can demand that religion should be relegated to the inner sanctum of personal life, without influence on societal and national life, without concern for the soundness of civil institutions, without the right to offer an opinion on events affecting society’.
I have heard people say ‘oh, I don’t vote, they’re all the same’. The last month has brought it home to me that they are not all the same, and that the way people vote does make a difference. We should be proud of our hard-won right to vote: not every country allows its citizens this right, and we must take an interest in ‘societal and national life’, so that our vote is the result of thought and prayer.
Meanwhile, many thanks to all those who contribute to the foodbank, so showing a practical ‘concern for the soundness of civil institutions’.