Commentary for Sunday: 22nd October

Matthew 22, 15-21

Sunday, 22nd October 2023 (29 O T A)


“The Pharisees withdrew and agreed to engage Jesus with a question. They sent disciples to him, with some of Herod’s followers, and said to him, ‘Teacher, we know that you are sincere and teach the way of God according to the truth; and you care for no one, because you are not concerned about appearances. So tell us what you think: Is it lawful to pay tax to Caesar or not?

At the time of Jesus, Israel was dominated by the Romans, to whom taxes had to be paid. Faced with this situation, the Pharisees and the supporters of Herod asked Jesus a trick question: “Should we pay taxes to Caesar?” If he answered yes, they would accuse him of being a supporter of the Romans, and if he said no, they would accuse him of being an enemy of Caesar.

Jesus is not fooled and gives an unexpected answer for them: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s”. For some this is like a popular “saying”, or even a “proverb”. What is clear is that Jesus does not “enter into politics” and defines his intention very well. The Christian, as a citizen, must be exemplary and fulfil his social obligations. He has to contribute his share, in pursuit of the common good. But he must also give to God what belongs to God. And Sunday, the Lord’s Day, is the day of the Risen Christ, a day for sharing the faith, for celebrating it in the Eucharistic gathering. Sunday should be a day of rest, recreation, family, but also a time to give our lives a spiritual perspective, with Easter resonance. Do I fulfil my social duties, how do I live the Lord’s Day, am I aware of it and do I do it with sincerity?


Juan Ramón Gómez Pascual, cmf

Do you give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s?


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