Sunday Angelus: Francis explained what it means to give to God what belongs to God and to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar

From the balcony of the Apostolic Palace the Pontiff addressed the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.


Newsdesk (October 19, 2020, Gaudium Press)   At Sunday Angelus, the Pope commented on the Gospel of the day, narrating the trap set by the Pharisees and Herodians for the Lord. They ask Jesus if it is lawful to pay tribute to Caesar, knowing that this was hated by the Jews. If the Lord’s answer was negative, the Herodians would accuse him before Rome.

“Jesus’ interlocutors are convinced that there is no alternative to their questioning: either a “yes” or a “no”. They were waiting, precisely because they were sure to back Jesus into a corner with this question and to make Him fall in the trap. But He knows their wickedness and avoids the pitfall. He asks them to show Him the coin, the coin of the taxes, takes it in His hands and asks whose is the imprinted image. They answer that it is Caesar’s, that is, the Emperor’s. Then Jesus replies: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” says the Pope.

The Pontiff also noted that with this answer, Jesus places himself above the controversy: “On the one hand, He acknowledges that the tribute to Caesar must be paid – for all of us too, taxes must be paid – because the image on the coin is his; but above all He recalls that each person carries within him another image – we carry it in the heart, in the soul – that of God, and therefore it is to Him, and Him alone, that each person owes his own existence, her own life.”

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In Christ’s response we find “not only the criterion for the distinction between the political sphere and the religious sphere; clear guidelines emerge for the mission of all believers of all times, even for us today.”

“Paying taxes is a duty of citizens, as is complying with the just laws of the state. At the same time, it is necessary to affirm God’s primacy in human life and in history, respecting God’s right over all that belongs to Him,” especially the proclamation of the Word of God and the building of civilization based on Christ.

The Pope ended his teaching by asking Our Lady to “sustain us, Christ’s disciples, in the mission of witnessing that God is the center and meaning of life.”

With information from Vatican News

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