In the first reading from Isaiah, God calls Cyrus, king of Persia, ‘my anointed’.
Now Cyrus was a pagan, not a Jew. Yet even in the Old Testament God is seeing Cyrus as one who helps to bring about God’s will.
The hand of God is behind everything. Does this mean that God means everything to happen as it does?
Does God plan for someone to murder or to steal, or to commit genocide, etc?
God does not directly will evil. We have free will. In nature there are earthquakes, cyclones, etc. Does God directly will each of these events?
If God were to intervene with every bit of nature every time, it would not be able to function. God by a free choice gives ‘space’ for nature to function.
Yet in the mysteries and amazing plan of God knows full well what is happening, and will happen, and ensures that His plans come about through it all.
In the Gospel, the Jewish leaders try to trap Jesus.
His response “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s”.
He could see through their hypocrisy. This was not a genuine question.
In the end there are some things that belong only to God.
We have civic obligations and responsibilities. Christians need to take part in the functions of the state. However, we also respond to a higher authority.
Obeying a dictator like Adolf Hitler, and putting people to death in concentration camps, is wrong and morally evil. We have a higher authority to answer to, well over and above Hitler.
We need to be good citizens, concerned about the common good. However, we also need to be able to distinguish between civil law and Christian moral behaviour. These two do not always agree.
Making euthanasia legal, or abortion legal, does not make it right.
In our lives Jesus is our way, truth, and life.
We need to choose what is right and loving and not just what is easy.