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October 18, 1996     The Message
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October 18, 1996

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1996 The Message --for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 11 - "- Commentary-- Taxes to Caesar: To pay or not to pay Gospel Commentary for October 20, 1996: Twenty.Ninth Ordinary Time: Cycle 22:15-21 Matthew has finally reached the end of his collection of accusatory parables. However, the confrontation between Jesus and religious leadership of the Jew- people is portrayed as continu- ous. Following the lead of his guid- Ing document, the Gospel of Mark, vJatthew depicts three episodes in which members of various grou s among the Jews present Jesus Pith a challenging question Needless to say, he n:::elY accepts the challenge but answers so as to his Oon vp ents. The three groups &amp;officials repre- :rddi nthese episodes are the Pharisees and ....... ae S.adducees, and a scribe, i.e. a schol- ar and interpreter of the Torah (Law of Moses). es come elate the stage first. The pious layfolk who are zealous to the Torah perfectl I accor ...... y. n this story they are ha,,:"wmea by Herodians We assume these were 'sers.on or courtiers of desce,,a^ ,. the ruhng Herod family sente"h:r Irm Herod the Great. The Herod repre- re Would be Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee. Jesus was a native hardly ex- - - of Gahlee. One would veer the pious Pharisees to team up with COUrhers of the not so religious Herod family. They are brought together, at least in our gospels, by a Fire & Safety qulp. Co. Inc. Ver 25 Years sales and 424-3863 .les Y STREET 191 IANA 47441 . Vinci Bicknell $andborn Monroe City Princeton Patoka .r F.D.I.C. SHOP ' Rad . - Service EStimates Given 254-5358 IN IANT STEAO< CHICKEN PARTIES IN By FATHER DON DILGER COLUMNIST loaded question. The question: Is it lawful to pay taxes to the Roman government or not? This was hurely a hotly debated question among the scribes/scholars who usually were members of the Pharisee iarty. If Jesus answers affirmatively, he can expect the Pharisees, patriotic Jews, to discred- it him with the people for recogniz- ing Roman rule over the Jewish homeland. If Jesus answers nega- tively, he can expect the Herodians, who favored Roman occupation, to [] report Jesus for sedition against Rome. Jesus asks to see the coin used for paying taxes. They show him a denarius. Noting that the image of Caesar was engraved on the coin Jesus answers: "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar but give to God what belongs to God." Jesus has turned their question into a spiritual challenge. Not only meet your obligations to the civil government, but also meet your obligations to God. He elevated this loaded question from a political level to a spiritual level. Matthew included elsewhere in his gospel the reason why taxes were to be paid, i.e. "not to give offense to them," 17:27. This was, however, not a question of taxes to Caesar but the head tax that every male Jew was asked to pay to the temple. St. Paul insists on paying taxes to whomever they are due not only to avoid offense "but also for the sake of conscience," Romans 13:5. The usual comment on Jesus' answer in this story is that it offended no one. That is unlikely if this story is historical. He would still have offended Jewish nationalists who were totally opposed to pay- ing taxes to Caesar. Our gospels, howevel; were not written to record the solution of problems by Jesus for his Jewish contemporaries. Traditions incorpo- rated into stories in the Christian gospels were cho- sen because they responded to a question being asked by Christians at a time when these gospels were written. Were they to pay taxes to the same Roman government that had so violently persecuted Christians during the latter part of the reign of the Emperor Nero? Matthew's answer is clearly affirma- tive but at the same time is a spiritual challenge to his Christian community to observe their obliga- tions to God. The traditions and official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church have consistently urged the moral obligation to pay taxes to the civil govern- ment. The recently published Catechism of the Catholic Church reiterates this obligation. This teaching does not rule out the occasional withhold- ing of taxes for reasons of conscience. Examples might be colossal government waste, tax money used for abortions, disagreement over military objec- tives, etc. People who withhold taxes must be ready to bear the consequences of their civil disobedience, but they also bear witness to the supremacy of con- science over human law. Readings: Isaiah 45:1,4.6; I Thessalonians 1:1-5b. Special Jubilarians Raymond and Lucille (Keusch) Kreilein will celebrate their sixtieth wedding anniversary on Oct. 20. The couple was married Oct. 20, 1936, at St. Joseph Church, Jasper by Bene- dictine Father Urban Knapp. They are the parents of Father Phil Kreilein, pastor at St. Ferdinand Church, Ferdinand, and Dr. Sylvester Kreilein of Milwaukee. Cards may be mailed to the Kreileins at 218 W. 13th; Ferdinand IN 47546. ! I II All You Care To Eat Buffet Dining 00'00tDa St[Tz-- Kf --FAM'LS00LE D,.,.G A.D CARTE ,*.,.=J, 1,,,,,,.,,,, v, BANQUET ROOMS AVAILABLE PRE-ARRANGED AMISH TOURS "0086-3977 Browse The Village Shops , dust off Hw . 50 = n Y Every Monday Seniors receive 15% off[ Montgomery, IN 3: li BI I I II III I II I1,1 I Golden Jubilarians Leroy and Dorothy (Mehringer) Schnaus of Jasper will cel- ebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 10.30 a.m. Oct. 20 at St. Mary Church, Ire- land. A dinner for invited guests will be served at the Knights of Columbus Home in Jasper. An Open House will be held from 2 to 5 p.m.; the couple requests no gift They were married Oct. 19, 1946, at St. Joseph Church, Jasper, by Father Finis. They are the parents of five children: Mar- ilyn Werne, Linda Erny, Kenneth Schnaus and Kevin Schnaus, all of Jasper, and Steve Schnaus of Evansville. They have 13 grandchildren Mr. and Mr Schnaus are semi. retired from farming. Conven,::t:ocatlon's ' EAsSHTEsCHAvPEEuEL