As we take a look at the Scriptures for this weekend’s Mass (especially Matthew 21,15-21) let’s remember that there is no intention on the part of Jesus to compartmentalize our lives and think that the “reign of Caesar” and the Kingdom of God are equal. They are not. The wisdom of Jesus’ response to the leaders of the people is that, while there is a legitimate function of human authority, it is always in relation to God’s authority. We are citizens of two countries, so to speak: a kingdom of this earth, and the Kingdom of Heaven. We need to be clear about that, and the more important and lasting one of them holds the higher authority. The challenge here demands that we engage in the difficult and complex discernment of how to live in history and society aware of our greater commitment to the Reign of God.
Jesus appeals to us all to look beyond the simplistic politics and black and white legalisms that are represented by Caesar’s coin and realize that we are called to embrace the values centered in a faith that sees the hand of God in all things. We are also called to recognize every human life as part of the one human family under the reign and providence of God. We really don’t live in two separate worlds. How we live in “the world of Caesar” may very well determine how and if we shall live in the world of God. Perhaps, our purpose and task in this life is to bring into fulfillment the Kingdom of God, which Jesus Himself came to establish.