Jesus had enemies, people who wanted to destroy him – setting traps for Him. If He said the wrong thing, popular opinion would turn against Him, or the authorities of the Roman occupation would consider Him a revolutionary to be arrested and silenced.
Jesus was walking through a verbal minefield.
In turn, Jesus warns us that He is sending us as sheep among wolves. He advises us to be innocent as doves, and wise as serpents (Mt 10:16).
He answered his interrogators saying: “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”
What goes to Caesar and what goes to God?
Caesar gets our taxes and our loyalties to help build up the common good of the country. God gets all the rest.
We are God’s creatures, not Caesar’s or the State’s. Everything we have and are is a gift from God, not from Caesar, beginning with life itself. Our human dignity and all the human rights that flow from that dignity comes from God, not from Caesar, or the Constitution, or the United Nations, or from society. Our destiny, in the long run, is to participate for all eternity in the interpersonal relationship of love and life of the Blessed Trinity. We are pilgrims on this planet Earth for only 70-80 years. Then we must leave. So we must know our priorities and act accordingly.
We are at a Command School of the US Army. Hoes does this apply here?
In Canada, it is considered a hate crime if a clergyman publicly teaches God’s plan for marriage, spousal love and family. North of the border they penalize clergymen who speak against same-sex marriage and transgenderism.
What is the proper response to that? What if that happens here? The LGBT lobby is very methodical and aggressive in pushing its agenda.
There are those in our country who aggressively militate for easy access to abortion, to eliminate an unborn baby, whose only crime is that he or she is inconvenient. Is this so-called “right to privacy” something that our men and women in the armed forces should be called into harm’s way to protect? Are these the human rights they are called to defend, and if necessary lay down their lives? Is this the American way of life they are called to defend?
We are horrified when we hear that radical Muslim terrorists murder or harm any number of people. But where is our horror and our outrage when we know that groups like Planned Parenthood in our own country kill up to 4,000 American babies every day? Babies are the greatest asset of a nation, and look at what we are doing to them. Render to Caesar what is his, and to God what is His. What are we doing to correct this?
In a democracy, the sovereignty of the nation resides in the people, not in the government, or the various branches of the government. Ours is a government of and by the people. Every citizen then is called upon to help give good direction to his or her country, to mend its flaws, to correct it taking the wrong direction, and raise their objections when basic rights are being violated.
Jesus came to advance the Kingdom of God. That Kingdom grows throughout the centuries. It suffers setbacks and resistance by the many tragedies of human history. Think of the past two World Wars. Think of all the horrific damage done by the great totalitarian systems of the past century. Think of what radical Islamic terrorism is doing today.
Jesus told Pilate: “My Kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight so that I might not be handed over to the Jews” (Jn 18:36). The Kingdom of God only begins here and progresses through the centuries. It will be fully realized only at the end of time, when God will assert his full sovereignty. In the meanwhile, it is your and my task to make our contribution to the building up of this Kingdom.
In the past Catholics were often criticized and prejudiced against by their non-Catholic fellow citizens, by the Know Nothings, and the Klu Klux Klan. They were considered to be disloyal to this country because they gave their religious loyalties to the Pope in Rome. They were Roman Catholics, not American Catholics, blending completely into the American melting pot. Our ancestors had a lot of prejudice to endure, especially after 1840 and the great waves of immigration into this country. But the Catholic doughboys of WWI, and the leathernecks and the G.I. Joes of WWII gave exemplary proof of their patriotism. Catholics today have climbed the social, political and economic ladders into the mainstream of American society. They are a definite part of the American scene and culture.
Our task now, as always before, is to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.
We serve our country best when we bring the basic principles and values of our faith into play, the truths of the Gospels, and when we put our Faith into practice. This nation is the stronger, and better, and demonstrates the exercise of real freedom when it functions with the Catholic understanding of human dignity and all the true human rights that flow from that dignity.
Jesus sparred with His opponents. So must you and I. So keep yourself strong, not only physically and militarily, but also spiritually and virtuously.
“I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides me there is no god” (Is 45:4).