In today’s gospel, the Pharisees have missed the point. They have present before them the long awaited Messiah and the very Son of God. He comes in word and power to teach and heal. He brings the good news of forgiveness and a new creation. However, the Pharisees are preoccupied with trying to keep things the way they want them to be that they try to trap Jesus. The ask ”Is it lawful to pay tax to the emperor?”
If He says yes, the people will resent Him. If He says no, He could be reported to the Romans as a revolutionary. Then He could be arrested and imprisoned. His answer is to give to Caesar what is his and give to God what is God’s.
What an answer! When you think about it, we are God’s creatures. We are His. What Jesus is saying to us is that we need to give ourself to God.
Jesus points out that we are Citizens of two worlds — the world we see of body and matter, and the world that is unseen which is of the spirit. As such we have duties to both worlds—to man and to God. Our duties to man include not only what we owe to Caesar (what we owe to our government in terms of taxes and allegiance), but also what we owe to others and to ourselves.
Besides belonging to the world we see, we are citizens of the unseen world of the spirit; as such, we owe God praise and thanksgiving, honor and glory. We owe God worship because He is all good and the source of all that we are and have.
However, here too we owe something to ourselves in the sense that we should pray, read Sacred Scripture, and receive the sacraments in order to develop our life in the spirit. It is really important that we take care of our inner life as much as we do our outer life. We cannot allow ourselves to make the same mistake the Pharisees did. They got so caught up in their own trivial pursuits that they missed the meaning and message of Jesus. May we always render what we owe to Caesar and what we owe to God.