In today’s Gospel passage, Our Blessed Lord gives us one of the most important lessons to help us get to Heaven. Basically, Jesus teaches us that human activity cannot be reduced to strictly social and political spheres of action. Each one of us has a profound religious dimension to our being. This religious dimension saturates and completely covers each and every one of our works and gives them tremendous dignity. This explains why the Lord replies what we just heard: “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
Whenever a Christian plays a part in public affairs, in education, say, or in cultural life, he or she cannot behave as if to reserve the faith for some better occasion in the future. The distinction “Give to Ceasar,.. give to God…” which Christ made was not intended to downgrade religion to the temple, or to the sacristy – so that temporal realities and activities would develop apart from divine and Christian law. Quite the contrary; Christians are challenged to be light and salt in the middle of the world. We are called to transform the environments in which we live and work, so as to make all around us more resemble God’s kingdom “on earth, as it is in Heaven,” for which He taught us to pray. Each and every one of us should strive to make the path to God accessible for as many of our fellow brothers and sisters as possible.
So, when it comes to fundamental questions of social morality, Christians should be fully aware of the fact that their religious faith serves as a powerful light illuminating the whole area of the common good. The teachings of God and his Church are not an obstacle to human welfare or scientific progress. They are rather a sure guide for the realization of those worthy goals. We have so much to give for the good of society! This is what we can learn from the example of the first Christians. Persons with well-formed consciences can make an enormous contribution to the real and every day welfare of our fellow citizens. As Christians, we have a most precious light to offer amidst so much darkness!
In today’s society, we are suffering more than ever “a terrible moral and religious void,” because we’ve gradu- ally forgotten how we can’t separate our spiritual and corporal dimensions, our body and soul, and how they were created to work together. This is easily seen by looking at why each of us does what we do…
Think about it: hasn’t God – who should fill our life – on the contrary, become a very distant star, to which we often look only at certain moments. In other words, how often do we believe we are religious because we go to church; but outside of church we want to lead the same life as many others, which can be marked by small or big deceits, acts of injustice, sins against charity; and so totally lack consistency. This is not the way to render to God the things that are God’s. The proper path lies in living an orderly life of faith. We should act as children of God in the halls of government as well as in the living-rooms of our friends. We should act as children of God at home, at work, at play; in how I vote, in how I act with others, in how I speak with others, and in how I’m eager to help others.
We should have the firm conviction that the Church is an unquenchable source of truth, the only source capable of filling our modern age’s terrible moral and religious void. A society without these values is at the mercy of aggressive elements and prey to a gradual dehumanization. God is not a distant star out of touch with mankind. He is a most powerful light who gives meaning and significance to all human affairs. Render to God the things of God. Our entire life is for the Lord, and everything in it. How is it possible that we could reserve some area of it for our sole personal domain?
Let us ask Our Lady to give us the joy of knowing that we are children of God. She will help us to realize our personal responsibilities in society at large.