29th Sunday in Ordinary Time-A
I Reading: Isaiah 45:1.4-6: I have taken Cyrus by his right hand to subdue nations before him.
II Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5: We constantly remember your faith, your love and your hope.
Gospel: Matthew 22:15-21: Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.
The Question about God and Caesar: Two Citizenships
This is the second challenge or attack by the leaders against Jesus. The words “laid plans” indicate that the ruling body of the Jews, the Sanhedrin, held an official meeting. They plotted how they might deal with this man who was claiming to be the Messiah. They fear Christ, for he was gathering the loyalty of the people so strongly around himself.
Their plot was to ask him a question about a person’s citizenship. The question was supposed to “trap him in his words” (V.15); that is, it was supposed to be impossible for Christ to answer without discrediting himself either with the people or with the Roman authorities. If he discredited himself with the people, they would react and desert him; if he discredited with the Romans, they would arrest him.
Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God used the occasion to teach the truth about citizenship because the Jews believed that the loyalty of a citizen belonged only to God, and the rest of the world believed that loyalty belonged to the ruling monarch of their territory.
Jesus Christ astounded the world of his day by declaring there was an earthly, physical citizenship to which some things are to be given; and there was a spiritual, heavenly citizenship to which some things are to be given.
1. The false concepts of Citizenship (v.15-16)
a. Religion is supreme: The Pharisees
b. The state is supreme: The Herodians
2. The sins common to false concepts of citizenship (v.16-17)
a. Selfish ambition: Leads to compromise
b. Deception: Leads to false flattery and destruction
c. Close-minded and obstinate unbelief: Leads to the rejection of truth and self-condemnation
3. The truth about citizenship: There are two citizenships (v.18-22)
a. Christ sees through false concepts and evil motives
b. There are things which belong to Caesar: An earthly citizenship
c. There are things which belongs to God: A heavenly citizenship
Thought: Any person who loves the things of this world will turn away from Jesus, and anyone who feels threatened by Jesus and His claims will react against Jesus (1Jn 2:15-16).
It is God’s will that we be faithful citizens of God’s kingdom and of the country where we live. God wants us to contribute to the welfare of everyone, whether Christians or non-Christians.
Only sin can render us laves: we must walk in life firm in our faith, active in our love, and with our hope placed in the life to come. Our life must drawn to God.
We must obey the lawful authorities, ray that they may discharge their duty according to God’s will, and fulfil all the laws which have the common good in view. The civil authority must be recognized with justice, peace, equality, dignity and fraternity in the society.