The gospel reading this week is again well known and it seems pretty straight forward. Some of the Jerusalem leadership – Pharisees and Herodian’s, are trying to trick Jesus with a question about Roman taxes in the hope that he will say something that will either lose him the support of the masses, or be treasonous. Instead Jesus seems to play the Anglican card and takes the middle way – pay to Caesar what is Caesars, and to God what is God’s. Except for Romans’ Caesar was god (the coins carried an image of Caesar’s head with the title “son of god” making them idolatrous to Jews) and all things belonged to that god Caesar. For Jews the opposite was true – all things belong to God, nothing to Caesar. What was Jesus saying – well not the separation of church and state that we keep hearing. But what he was saying depended on where you stood.
So what is he saying to us? Everything belongs to God. All people and all things. And we are to treat them as such. The rule of the Franciscan Third Order says, “Our chief object is to reflect that openness to all which was characteristic of Jesus. This can only be achieved in a spirit of chastity, which sees others as belonging to God and not as a means of self-fulfilment.” That is a big ask. Jesus’ answer carried more of a punch than we might have thought.
I am not preaching this week, so there will be no sermon