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What We Owe God - Weekday Homily Video

What We Owe God - Weekday Homily Video

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Every three months, I am reminded of what I owe Caesar, or more accurately, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as I pay my taxes. Most people only think about this once a year, on that magic day of April 15.

So, it isn’t hard to understand what Jesus told the Pharisees: “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar…” But the second part of the statement requires some thought, “…and to God what belongs to God.”



How are we to understand this teaching? What belongs to God that we can repay or give back to Him? It seems impossible because everything—the earth, the sea, the sky, and all the animals and creatures of the sea—belong to God. Most importantly, we belong to God, and all that we are and will become is the result of God’s creation and ongoing gift of life.

We see in the Gospel of Mark the foundation of Catholic teaching on the relationship between the Church and the state or country. We are called to respect civil authority, participate in its ordering, and protect its sovereignty.


The Ultimate Authority


However, our ultimate authority is God. We are called to follow the teaching of Jesus when it comes to determining whether a civil law is moral or immoral.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the gospel.” (CCC 2242)

Last night at dinner, some of my brother priests were talking about how this election season is going to be full of emotion and tough rhetoric. We, followers of Jesus, have the teachings of God to guide us through rough waters at any time.

We have the Ten Commandments and the Gospels to help us to discern what we owe to Caesar in promoting the common good of our homelands, and what we owe to God in building the Kingdom of God on earth.

Though we may give our money in taxes to the Caesars of our time, we are called to give our lives to God. We live to return God's love in our seeking to do His will, serving others in His name, and leading others to a life of goodness, holiness, and meaning that is found in knowing, loving, and serving God.

What do we owe God today? That’s a good question to bring to prayer and reflection, if possible, with our families, before the sun goes down or before we go to sleep. The particulars might vary each day, but the principle remains the same: it is our devotion, obedience, and trust that we give to God first and foremost.

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About Father David Marcham

Reverend David S. Marcham is the Vice Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Patrick Peyton, and Director of the Father Peyton Guild, whose members pray for Father Peyton’s beatification and spread his message of the importance of Family Prayer. Prior to becoming a seminarian, Father David was a physical therapist and clinical instructor, serving hospital inpatients and outpatients throughout the greater Boston area for eleven years. In 1998 he heard the call to priesthood and was ordained in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2005. Father David grew up in Quincy, MA, and has fond memories of playing soccer, tennis and running track. You’re never without a friend when Father David is around, as he welcomes everyone into his circle with a smile on his face!