We all are, in some way, the citizens of two kingdoms: citizens of the political territory where we live and citizens of God’s Kingdom. As Jesus says, they both require certain loyalties from us. We all depend to a large extent on our civil government. In modern times, very few people can supply their own water, electricity or telephone system.
There are many other services which only a civil authority can provide, such as education, hospitals, roads, welfare services for the unemployed, the physically challenged and senior citizens. However, we are also citizens of God’s Kingdom. For much of the time, there is no conflict between “Caesar” and God but not always.
Today’s Gospel makes it very clear that we have two responsibilities: to the government of our country or territory and to God. Where both are in harmony there will be no conflict. Wherever there is immoral or unjust behavior against people’s dignity and rights, then there will be conflict. Such conflict is not always bad. On the contrary, it is because of creative conflict that our society makes progress.
Provided we always act in a positive and creative way, “speaking the truth in love”, then the flawed kingdoms that men build can, in time, become the Kingdom of God. As a famous dissident, and as martyr, St Thomas More, said:
“The King’s good servant, but God’s first.”
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St. Mary’s Catholic Church
1414 Gorrell Street
Greensboro, NC 27401
Monday through Friday
8:00 AM – 4:30 PM