As we are going through the seasonal changes from Summer to Fall, we are also going through the inevitable election season. Just as we must suffer with the warmer weather as Summer does not want to give way to Fall, we suffer with an abundance of political advertisements and roadside sign waiving waiting for election day.
What seems timely is the message the Apostle Matthew shares with us in this weekend’s scripture reading. St. Matthew shares the advice of Jesus on how, with ethical discernment, to carry out our obligation to the civil powers yet remain within the higher framework of our obedience to God. That simple advice is “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God.”
The fact that Jesus asked for a coin from the Pharisees and noted what was imprinted on it was the image of Caesar is true for us as well. Our human souls bear the "image and likeness" of God our Creator and our Father. Our duty as citizens of this democracy are to give back to society through obedience to good laws and active collaboration, like voting, paying taxes and doing community service.
The one major responsibility for us as citizens is to participate directly in the political process by voting. Therefore, we must make a determined effort to stay informed about the important political and cultural issues facing the community. This will enable us to vote intelligently and responsibly. In recent weeks many of our bishops have been encouraging Catholics to do just that, vote intelligently and responsibly in elections.
Bishop Larry recently issued a paper “Reflections from the Word of God to Prepare for the 2020 Elections” which can be found in the Catholic Herald Newspaper or on the Internet through a Google search. Another excellent resource on the internet is at www.PoliticalResponsibility.com where you can get “Voting with a Clear Conscience” by Fr. Frank Pavone.
In today's largely democratic world, where good and evil are still fighting it out, let's give to God what belongs to God (nothing less) and give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar (nothing more). Vote intelligently and responsibly.