October 19, 2008

The Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

When Jesus said to the good religious folk "Give... to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's," I wonder if they heard in the background the words of Psalm 24: "The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it." I wonder if some of their fury with him was his skill in putting them in their place, a place where they had to remember that there is no hierarchy, no division, no us and them, just the world, God's good earth, a treasure on loan to all of us. And when we pay our taxes, aren't we sharing that treasure with others -- paying for schools and health care, for groceries and roads and public transportation, for police and firefighters and trash collectors? Jesus reminds us, the good religious folk of our time, that what we have is meant to be given to God. And what would this precious world look like if we really lived that way?

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