“Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God.” These are familiar and much quoted words of Jesus. We read them in today’s gospel. Some interpret this saying of Jesus as we have two separate realms, Caesar’s realm, that is the political and human realm and then there is God’s realm. People want the church to stay out of politics. “Leave the politics to the politicians.’
In our church here in Canterbury we have the relics of two Archbishops, Thomas Becket and Oscar Romero who because they spoke out in opposition to the political authority, were martyred. We believe that God has sovereignty over all out lives and all humanity is made in his image and likeness so we all belong to God. At the time of Jesus, all that belonged to Caesar was the coin with his image imprinted on it.
So far from Jesus saying there is God’s realm and a worldly, secular realm, God is saying it is all one. Everything belongs to God. So we must transform this world, do action for justice, participate in the world’s transformation until it becomes the Reign of God. Like St Oscar Romero through our words and actions we cherish all our brothers and sisters, especially the poor, the marginalised all who are ignored because they don’t fit in. We as a Church and as individuals need the grace of God to be a voice of the voiceless.