A QUESTION OF ALLEGIANCE

Tuesday, 9th Week in Ordinary Time              

            “Give to God what belongs to God.”

            What Jesus in today’s gospel reading is saying is this: Caesar’s image may be on your coins; but God’s image is on you, and you belong to God! As one gospel commentary puts it: “We are the coin of God’s realm. God’s likeness stamped on us declares that we belong wholly and entirely to God.”

            Whatever belongs to God – whatever we are, whatever we have – is to be used only in a God-honoring and Kingdom-building manner. We are to render to God all the power of human love and thought and action. We are to give to God all the love of heart and soul and mind and strength issuing in a love of neighbor as our love of self.

            Again, today’s gospel confronts us with the question of allegiance. We are either living in allegiance to the King of kings, celebrating our welcome into his kingdom of glory and grace, or we are anointing ourselves as kings (or queens) and working to set up our own little kingdoms of one. We are either giving to God the allegiance of our hearts, deepening our love and worship of him, or we are making our hearts wander, asking others to give us what only God can give. We are either allowing God to command our allegiance, treasuring what he treasures and loving what he loves, or we are letting the world to dictate on us where to put our hearts into – material things, political power, social status, physical pleasures. God demands and commands our allegiance so that we will not serve other masters. One who rightly commands our allegiance gives us, in grace, every important thing that we need.

            We have to ask ourselves: Is our allegiance to God reflected in our life and in our way of living? Is it seen in our choices and decisions, in our behaviors and attitudes, in our deeds and actions, in our values and priorities in life? “Give to God what belongs to God.” The only conclusion to draw from this commandment is to give ourselves to God completely – everything we are, everything we have. We are to render to God our total commitment.

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