Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Render Unto Millard Fillmore

Tuesday’s Gospel reading (the last for Ordinary Time until June) saw the Pharisees and Herodians trying to embroil Jesus in a tax controversy. Jesus asked to see a coin, which was stamped with the image of Caesar. Noting that the image on the coin was Caesar’s Jesus replied to his questioners that we should render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.

I had two quick thoughts, one serious and one light. The first is that the coin was created by the Roman government in the image of Caesar. The human person, on the other hand, is created by God in His image. In one sense then, when we talk about what should be rendered unto God, we can speak of the entire human person.

In a lighter sense, I wondered what it would be like if Jesus asked a modern American for a dollar coin. The image on the coin might be Milllard Fillmore, Rutherford B. Hayes, Sacajewea, or Susan B. Anthony, among others. It just wouldn’t do to say, “Render unto Millard Fillmore the things that are Millard Fillmore’s.”

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