“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” Every Christian person has a double citizenship. He is a citizen of the world and a citizen of heaven. To the worldly country, a person owes a great many things. He owes his safety; his public services, the protection of his God-given rights. This places us all under the obligation to be men and women of honor by respecting our duty as good citizens in protecting the common good.
My dear friends, the Christian is also a citizen of heaven. There are matters of conscience and of religion and of principle and of universal unchangeable truth in which the responsibility of the Christian is to God. We owe to God many more things; our very rights as human beings, the salvation of our souls as well as the salvation of others.
There may be times when the citizenship of a nation conflicts with the citizenship of heaven. It is during these times we need to step back, put things in perspective and rely on our common sense and our eternal goal. In putting these things in perspective, we can come to see clearly the things we ought to do. We can depend on the teachings of the Church and the reading of Holy Scripture to help us discern the Truth for us. Christ reminds us today that if and when this kind of thing happens it is the duty of the Christian to give to God what is His.
Pope Emeritus Benedict said: “The true law of God is not an external matter. It dwells within us. It is the inner direction of our lives, which is brought into being and established by the will of God. It speaks to us in our conscience.”
The real Christian is at one and the same time a good citizen of his country and a good citizen of heaven. We can be a good citizen of both by forming our conscience well and keeping ourselves finely tuned to the Will of God in our lives.