Friday, October 14, 2011

Where does your loyalty lie?

Dear Parishioners,

In today’s gospel (Matthew 22: 15-21), Jesus is put in an impossible situation by two opposing groups, both of whom are against Him. The question is whether it is lawful to pay taxes to the emperor or not. An affirmative answer will alienate Jesus from the Jews; a negative answer will alienate Jesus from the Romans. Jesus masterfully evades the trap by saying, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but give to God what is God’s.” However, sometimes there is no way to avoid trouble as St. Thomas More discovered. He was the chancellor of England when Henry VIII divorced his wife and remarried, even though the Church would not grant him an annulment. Loyal to the king, he never condemned Henry; but loyal to the Church, he never gave his approval. Even though he was pressured and all the other bishops except St. John Fisher caved in and gave their approval, St. Thomas remained steadfastly loyal to the Church. Because of this, he was sentenced to death. As he stood on the scaffold awaiting execution, his last words were, “I die the King’s good servant, but God’s first.” He was loyal to his King as long as possible, but his ultimate loyalty was with God. May we always be the same, and may our Catholic politicians look to God for guidance on moral issues rather than party loyalty or voter support and approval.