Sunday, October 19, 2008

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 22: 15-21
Woe unto you Christians who demand simple answers from God. "Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?" Clear, straight-forward, yes or no, black and white. And what does our Brother say in reply: "Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God." You can almost hear them saying, "So is that a yes?" And you can almost see Jesus shaking his head in disgust. He is telling us that life is infinitely more complex than yes or no; that love is gloriously more multi-faceted than black and white. But haven't I talked of the simplicity of love? YES! And once more we greet our beloved paradox: love is easy, yet impossible to define. We know in our heart what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God, whether we are giving love or withholding it. But how do we get our brain to recognize the truth in our heart and soul? How do we live this truth in the world around us, with so many others refusing to recognize it? Now there are some interesting questions: difficult, complex, certainly not yes or no, nor black and white. In part, the answer is that we must remember that the Kingdom of God is more about effort than accomplishment. Our Father knows if we are really trying to repay what belongs to her. All that remains is for us to acknowledge this in ourselves and one another.