Then they sent to him some Pharisees and some Herodians to trap him in what he said. And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?”
But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why are you putting me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me see it.” And they brought one. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” Jesus said to them, “Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were utterly amazed at him.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius makes a fundamental statement of faith, called his First Principle and Foundation, that claims all the things in this world, including our own lives, are loving gifts from our Creator God. All that we have is gift: our minds and bodies, our friendships and loved ones, our talents and opportunities.
God’s incredible love for us is such that it cannot possibly remain bound up in the divine, rather it bursts forth into this world and into our lives in myriad ways. What we do with our lives becomes our response to God’s boundless love. Today’s gospel reminds us that we can make our lives a gift to God. We are invited to “repay to God” all that has been freely given to us.
In what ways are you feeling invited to “repay” God more fully with your life? Today, ask for the grace of seeing all things as gifts. As you do, pay attention to what loving response most naturally wells up within you. Find the courage to put that love into action.
I lift my eyes to you
my help, my hope
the heavens (who could imagine?)
the earth (only our Lord)
the infinite starry spaces
the world’s teeming breadth
All this. I lift my eyes
and I praise.
—Daniel Berrigan, S.J.