Father Michael Barrow

From the parish of St Francis of Assisi

Giving Back To Caesar: A Reflection On The Gospel Matthew 22. 15-21 By Fr. Michael Barrow, SJ

Giving Back To Caesar: A Reflection On The Gospel Matthew 22. 15-21 By Fr. Michael Barrow, SJ

The two greatest commandments are loving God and our neighbour, but the one Jesus insists on most is love of our neighbour because it is through that that I grow in the love of God, "since a person who does not love the brother that he can see cannot love God, whom he has never seen." (1 John 4.20) It is by love and generosity towards other people that I become like Christ.

Jesus was making the same point when he was handed a coin that was used to pay tax and said "Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God."Just as the commandments to love God and our neighbour are interdependent, so also are our duties to God and to the State, the community. Too easily do we separate in our minds what is of God and what is not, as if fulfilling our religious duty is more important than our duty to our country and community.A person's love of God is eventually assessed by his love of his neighbour and so also one's generosity to God is expressed by one's generosity to others. In paying his taxes and obeying the laws of the country a person is helping to build up the kingdom of God by contributing to the community in which he lives.

"Giving back to Caesar" is an essential way in which we build up the kingdom of God and in doing so we ourselves take on the likeness of Christ. A person who is assiduous in his religious duties, but manages to avoid paying his taxes is not growing in the likeness of Christ any more than a person who does not love the people he can see, can be loving God whom he does not see.


Fr. Michael Barrow, SJ



The Most Rev. Dr. Charles Jason Gordon named as Ar...
A Reflection On The Gospel Matt. 22. 15-21 For Th...