In next Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus is presented with a trap: “Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?” If he says “yes,” he will anger the Pharisees because the coin had an image of Caesar on it, so using it would be a form of idolatry. If he said “no,” he would upset the Herodians. They believed in cooperating with Roman rule, and Jesus’ “no” could be interpreted as civil disobedience. Jesus cleverly slips out of the dilemma by saying, “Pay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” Recently, while visiting patients in our county hospital, I met a man who got into a little rant against our church when I asked him if he was Catholic. He had been, he said, but he had become scandalized by the church — giving me many examples — and left it in anger. Interesting that so many people refuse to support the church with presence and money because it is imperfect, but they continue supporting the government even though it is imperfect, and supporting other things too — like professional sports or political parties. In the imperfect church with its imperfect clergy and laypeople, God is given what belongs to God — hymns of praise, thanksgiving and homage. God receives and affirms that offering, even when we imperfect people sing a little off key!
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia