Render Unto Caesar

(Homily for Twenty-Ninth Sunday - Year A)

Bottom line: As Christians we cannot escape the duty of political involvement.

This Sunday Jesus tells us, "Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God." I can do no better than recommend Archbishop Charles Chaputīs excellent book Render Unto Caesar subtitled "Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life." Archbishop Chaput explains that he wrote the book because a friend asked him to do it. His friend is a young attorney who ran for the Colorado General Assembly on the Democratic ticket. The book brilliantly explains why - and how - Christians should actively involve themselves in our countryīs political life.

I have the advantage of reading this book while in Peru. It helps to have a little distance from our numbing twenty-four hour news cycle and the nastiness that has become such a part of political campaigns. Like many people, I have felt the temptation to join the near majority of Americans who simply opt out.* As Archbishop Chaput makes clear, that will not do.

In the opening chapters, Archbishop Chaput explains why political involvement is a Christian duty. He answers those who try to intimidate us by invoking a false understanding of the "separation of church and state." Although Christian faith is always personal, it is never private. That is, our faith will inevitably have implications for our public actions.

What then is the basis for Christian involvement in politics? The answer is simple: Jesus gave us the command to love God above all things and to love our neighbor as ourselves. As Archbishop Chaput develops at some length, that dual command is the reason for any involvement in politics. More on that next Sunday when we hear Jesusī reply to the scholar who asked him, "Which commandment in the law is the greatest?"


*They donīt bother to vote, but of course feel no compunction about criticizing elected officials. Pastors experience a similar phenomenon.

General Intercessions for the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A (from Priests for Life)

Spanish Version

From Archives (for Twenty-Ninth Ordinary Sunday, Year A):

2014: Trust No Matter What Week 4
2011: Fighting Government Encroachment
2008: Render Unto Caesar
2005: God Owns It All
2002: The Trap of Idolatry
1999: What Belongs to God

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Sunday Homilies

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

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Fr. Brad's Homilies (well worth listening)

Pictures from Peru (October 2008 Visit)

Novena for Youth (to discover God's plan)

Parish Picture Album

(October 2011)

Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)

Parish Picture Album


MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru