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Video from Fr. Hightower reflects upon A well formed conscience.


There is no such thing as a stupid question

“There is no such thing as a stupid question”.  I, myself used this dictum many times teaching over the past 27 years.  Honestly searching for an answer or direction is indeed not stupid, however, asking leading or trick questions rarely works. For one, doing so presumes you are brighter than the person you are asking the false question.

In today’s gospel, Matthew continues to emphasize the role of the Pharisees, (the Herodians are more of a political party rather than a religious party, so in this election season, I will avoid them!). The Pharisees’ question is meant to corner Jesus into an answer either offensive to religious Jews or, in many ways, label him as an insurrectionist. Jesus, whose sole interest is the reign of God, does not take the bait.  As the question has nothing to do with his mission, he simply turns the table on the Pharisees by asking a basic question about Caesar’s face on a coin.  In ancient times, the image on the coin was about ownership.  Jesus was more concerned with the image of God which each person possesses.

These past few weeks, we have seen the Matthean church struggle with the Pharisees repeatedly thwarting God’s chosen one. Today’s gospel shows Jesus moving away from political questions to true authority.  That authority being true submission to God’s will. “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s” and “give to God what is God’s” is an answer to a trick question that leads us to ponder our own answer to how we balance our ownership of worldly items, and with our worship of our God. 

C. Hightower, S.J.



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