Today’s Gospel gives mankind a powerful message about how we are treat each other, it relates to us the most important aspect of interpersonal communication; in short how to build our societies. Buried within Jesus’ answer “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” is the important answer for the pivotal point facing every group and society. The Pharisees proxies, in one important aspect, ask Christ: do we follow mankind’s institutions and constructs only; or do we follow God’s only. And Jesus returns with the answer both!
Man is created in the image of God Himself we are both corporal and spiritual. We are both creation and the image of the creator. We live within this world and are citizens of the next. The history of mankind, especially the last century shows only too well what happens when we give to Caesar only. When mankind turns within itself then the brutality of the relativistic and positivistic mindset comes forward. We cannot hope to understand ultimate truth and love if we are the ones who get to determine it. Our fallen nature distorts our ability to love correctly.
On the other hand; when we give to God only, our relation with God, our religion, eventually becomes our own personal fantasy; our faith becomes a static, stale picture of who we hope God is like and no growth can happen. We remain who we are and become recluses in our relationship with mankind as well.
Jesus, in His answer tells them and us that we are to live within both worlds. We are to follow God’s plan and meet His demands for us, His creatures, and in this way we will grow in our knowledge and love of the one who created us. We will find out who we are truly meant to be – we become fully human. We are also to live in this world and follow the demands of our society because we are social creatures, and interaction is how true love is actualized and thus realized by us. In doing so we also help those around us come to understand and love as it is meant to be. We live within the heavenly vision here on earth so that earth can reflect that vision.
To certain extent there is no exclusivity in Jesus answer to the Pharisees’ minions we are to do both. If we don’t then we fail both.