Today's story is also about ingratitude. Jesus' enemies, having heard the good news about God's compassionate and reconciling love that Jesus had preached. They weren't interested in it. All they thought about was their own power (they weren't the last religious leaders like that).
So they wanted to trick Jesus. If he said taxes shouldn't be paid to Caesar, then he'd be denounced to the Romans. If he said that the taxes should be paid, then he would be denounced to the strict Jews.
Jesus deftly avoided their trap and at the same time laid down a rule of thumb that has served well every since, even if it has on occasioned twisted to justify behavior of which Jesus would never approve.
Fr. Greeley's Last Book:
Once upon a time there was a very generous man who had helped everyone in the parish in one way or another. He found jobs for some, he arranged loans for others, he suggested counselors for those who had family problems, he coached sixth grade football, he presided over the Vincent de Paul society, he contributed to everyone’s fund raising drives, we went to every benefit golf tournament, he helped get teenagers out of trouble, he wrote letters of recommendation for colleges. He did all these things because he was a kind, generous man. He expected nothing back.
Then someone suggested to him that he run for the presidency of the library board. He had studied library science in college and was well qualified for the job. But at a meeting of all the people he thought were his friends to rally support, they demanded to know his stand on free trade with China.
He pleaded that he didn’t know that such a stand was necessary to be president of the library board. They said he was a weakling because he wouldn’t take a stand.
He said he needed time to study the issue. They said he should seek the office unless he had studied the issue. They deserted the rally. No good deed goes unpunished, he sighed. All of his old friends voted for the other candidate. Yet their former friend won anyway.
Psalm 96: 1-10
1 O sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all
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