The readings from 2nd Isaiah tell us of God’s plan for salvation. God will use the Persian King Cyrus to bring the exiled people of Israel from Babylonia back to Jerusalem. God uses even forgiveness to help save the chosen people of Israel. St. Paul was a prolific letter writer. He used his letters to keep contact with the churches he helped teach about Jesus and the plan of salvation. He writes to the church in Thessalonica, a classic letter to express his ongoing care and concern for them. He thanks God for the blessings bestowed on them as people of faith. He proclaims Jesus, the Son of God and the long awaited Savior. Paul praises the Thessalonians for their faith which they express in acts of love and kindness. This is the first early reference the theological virtues, faith, hope and love. This reading is a great reminder to all of us to put our faith into action in our works of faith, hope and love. The message of Jesus in the Gospel, whose truth was made evident to them by its power. We or they will be known by our faith. Our actions speak louder than word. So, let us proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior by our words and actions.
In today’s Gospel the Pharisees try to trap Jesus into siding with the zealots, who promote rebellion against Rome or those who collaborate with the Romans, which most of the faithful thought an affront to God. The Pharisees even include the Herodian, who generally sided with Rome. The Pharisees would promote a more scrupulous compliance with Jewish Law. They show him a Roman coin with Caesar’s picture and an inscription on it. This alone would prove them unfaithful to Jewish Law and more in compliance with Rome. It would be unlawful for a Jew to have such a coin. Jesus asks about the image and tells them to render to Caesar what is his and to God what is God’s. The fact is that we are made in the image of God and rightfully belong to him.
Our message today is we belong to God, so give God what is his and to the world what belongs to the world. We live in the world and are caretakers of the good we have, but we as faithful Christians belong to God. Our goal in life is to go to heaven. May God bless our journey of faith.