Responsible citizens who contribute to society, work for the common good, but know that everything belongs to the Lord—this is the life of Christians. Pope Francis remembered this in the Angelus this Sunday, where the liturgy once again suggests the words of Jesus: “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” Words that must be understood correctly
We “belong to the Lord and do not need to be slaves to any power in the world.” This is the teaching of Jesus in the center of the catechesis of Pope Francis today in the Angelus, commenting on the passage from the Gospel of Matthew this Sunday. The evangelist relates a trap set for Jesus by some Pharisees along with some Herodians. To the question of whether or not it is legal to pay taxes to the Romans, the rulers who are hated by the people, Jesus answered, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”
These are words that “have become something of common use,” said the Pope, but their true meaning must be understood. It is used “to talk about the relations between church and state, between Christians and politics”, and is often interpreted as a separation “between earthly reality and spiritual reality.” And he continued:
Sometimes, we also think like this: one thing is faith with its works, and another thing is daily life. And it is not. This is “schizophrenia”, as if faith has nothing to do with concrete life, social challenges, social justice, with politics, and so on.
Contribute to society by knowing that we belong to God
What Jesus wants to tell us, Francis observes, is that we must give proper importance to Caesar and God; we must respect politics and the institutions that involve social life. But always remember that God is our Lord. The Holy Pope says:
We must give back to society what it offers us through our contribution as responsible citizens, paying attention to what is entrusted to us, promoting the law and justice in the world of work, paying taxes honestly, committing ourselves to the common good, and others. But, at the same time, Jesus confirmed the fundamental truth: that man, every man, belongs to God.
Man is the image of God
Pope Francis continued to explain that, in this way, Jesus wants to tell us that “we do not belong to any earthly reality, nor tny ‘Caesar’ of power. “We belong to the Lord” and, therefore, “we must not be slaves to any power in the world.””. Ad back to ancient Roman money:
On the coin, therefore, there is the image of the emperor, but Jesus reminds us that the image of God is imprinted on our lives, which no one and no one can hide. The things of this world belong to Caesar, but man and the world belong to God: let us not forget this!
The Holy Pope ended his catechesis with questions about our identity as people and children of God: “What image – he asked each of us – do you carry within you? Whose image are you in your life?”
Do we remember that we belong to the Lord, or do we allow ourselves to follow the logic of the world and make work, politics, and money our idols to worship?