A place for everything!
My mother used always say – put things where they belong. Newspapers, food, the bicycle not in the hall, and other homely advice. Jesus says the same here – give what belongs to where it belongs and to whom.
So Jesus is being asked about taxes and politics. He knows he is being trapped about money. He moves on to higher questions. Something about the answer of Jesus asks us — where do we belong? Belonging can sound heavy – as if we are being controlled, or our money belongs to us and we can do what we like with it. But for Jesus it’s the belonging of love, not of power and control.
Much is not in our control. We are born and die at God’s time. This reminds us that we are not the masters of our lives, we come from God and go to God. This belonging is the centre of our human family and community. God doesn’t want to control us but to love us.
But there’s an addition: belonging to God means belonging to each other. We have rights and duties of love. To give to others what belongs to others; give to the poor what belongs to the poor. Everyone has a right to the food of the earth and the food of the mind, and shelter for the body. It’s not charity when people are given food, education, a home, freedom of religion, freedom of speech – it is justice. To give to God what belongs to God is to share the goods of the earth!
Think of a time when you made a decision for the common good – money given away, cleaning the neighbourhood, joining a parents’ group etc. Remember and be grateful. Lord, may your will that we share well the goods of the world be done.