[__01__] The answer is Yes. Repay.
[__02__] With “repayment”, there is often a celebration, joy, rejoicing.
The celebration may not necessarily be manifested publicly as a toast with champagne glasses. Yet, there is often some relief, gladness in repayment and the satisfaction of one’s debts or obligations, isn’t there?
For example, if a person or famly were able to pay off his or her mortgage …or their mortgage, there would be relief.
Some people are known even to put the mortgage document into the fireplace for burning.
In this way, their debts also go .. earth to earth… ashes to ashes … dust to dust. It disappears.
[__03__] Another example of repayment would be a student’s completion of a final exam, term paper, or thesis. As students, we are called to render and surrender unto the teacher what we have learned. And, once we handed in our work or homework, we are relieved. We may also celebrate.
A student repays “academically” to the professor teacher.
A family or person repays monetarily to Chase, to Bank of America, to Wells Fargo.
[__04__] Repayment is cause for celebration, for joy.
In the Gospel, this Sunday, a question is about money is brought to our Lord and Savior. At least, this may appear to be a question of liabilities (i.e., to the government…what we must pay) and a question of assets (i.e., to ourselves, what want to keep).
Is this just accounting? Economics?
The question is brought by the Pharisees. The Pharisees ask Jesus, “Should we pay the census tax to Caesar or not?” (Matthew 22:___)
With this question, they were testing our Savior, to examine/investigate his loyalty to the Roman Empire. They are asking …
- Should we pay this invoice?
- Should we pay this bill?
- Should we be in this tax bracket?
In other words, they ask what every taxpayer may wonder –
- How much do we pay?
- Is it really necessary?
- What has the government done of us lately? (“What you have done for me lately?”)
It’s interesting that Jesus does not answer in terms of what the Pharisees or you and I are supposed to …
- GIVE ..or … PAY
Rather, he responds saying what we should
- Or in other translations of the Bible what we should “render unto Caesar”
Well, if we were to “repay”…. Or “render” unto Caesar, this would be a bit different.
That is, Jesus is suggesting we have a responsibility to repay…to support the government…to support the communal needs for all of us…
[[ Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one's country:
Pay to all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.(Romans 13:7)
[Christians] reside in their own nations, but as resident aliens. They participate in all things as citizens and endure all things as foreigners. . . . They obey the established laws and their way of life surpasses the laws. . . . So noble is the position to which God has assigned them that they are not allowed to desert it.( Ad Diognetum 5,5 and 10; 6,10:PG 2,1173 and 1176.)
The Apostle exhorts us to offer prayers and thanksgiving for kings and all who exercise authority, "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way."( 47 1 Tim 2:2)]] à Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2240
[__05__] On the other hand, this doesn’t necessarily mean that we agree with every action taken by the government or by every office holder in …(locations? Governments??)
In fact, we are also called to pray for our leaders that they would use the money and authority entrusted to them for good, for the protection of the defenseless.
By our taxes,we pay for many things in Caesar’s image …or made by Caesar’s strategies.
But by our meditations and petitions – whether at church or home – we pray for what is in God’s image that his kingdom will come, his will be done.
[__06__] Our repayment to Caesar or the IRS (or USA) is also a celebration, an act of hope and trust – not necessarily in “Caesar” … but an act of hope in God and that the prayers of many for our elected leaders will help all things to work for good. (cf. Romans 8:28)
[__08__] Repayment is a celebration. Jesus speaks not only of what we render or hand over to Caesar – but also what we hand over and render to God.
Thomas Merton writes that “infinite sharing is the law of God’s inner life. He also made the sharing [gift - surrender] of ourselves the law of our own being, so that it is in loving others that we we best love ourselves.”
Merton and other writers characterize this, spiritually, as “being disinterested“ …
This is a spiritual approach towards indifference…and spiritual approach to toward love and charity that is distinct from ordinary indifference.
That is, if I were to experience ordinary indifference in my life, I would (might) walk by you without saying hello … you might bump into someone without acknowledging his or her presence.
But spiritual indifference does not mean I do not care about someone else’s welfare.
Rather, spiritual indifference means that I render – or surrender – my love, my service as a repayment, a repayment of mercy, of charity, of fidelity
[__09__] I render it is a repayment beside someone in a hospital, or by permitting someone to share his or her sorrow with me.
On the other hand, we also repay by allowing someone to share his or her joy – and good fortune with me. Isn’t this sometimes a sacrifice…to do as St. Paul says ..not only to weep with those who weep but to rejoice with those who rejoice. (cf. Romans 12:15).
Sometimes, we may not feel like rejoicing. To do so…. To love in this way…is a repayment.
Yes,… go ahead a repay. And, Render unto God the things that are God’s.
In all of our listening and compassion, there is repayment.
And, repayment calls for celebration.