In this week’s Gospel, Jesus utters the famous line, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but give to God what is God’s.” While it may seem that Jesus is separating religion from politics, actually Jesus reminds us that we are citizens of two realms. We are citizens of this earthly kingdom and citizens of God’s heavenly kingdom. In addition to living in relationship to God, we are called to be faithful citizens, living in relationship to others in our nation and world.
Right now, there is a lot of debate in the United States about what should be given to Caesar/the government. This is evident as the Occupy Wall Street protests continue and as the potential Republican presidential candidates debate each other. Questions are being asked about who should be taxed and at what rates. There are countless proposals floating in the blogosphere about how to change regulations that govern the practices of banks, large companies, and other financial institutions. (One particularly interesting idea—that all private debt be forgiven—is based on the biblical idea of Jubilee. Read more about it at the Huffington Post.)
What is really important in all of this is that people are learning and talking about these important issues and finding ways to get involved in the political process and to make themselves heard. As Catholics, we are called to get involved, too, even if we are not yet old enough to vote. As the United States Catholic Bishops write in their statement Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, “Even those who cannot vote have the right to have their voices heard on issues that affect their lives and the common good” (no. 16). If you want to learn more about how youth can get involved in the movement for faithful citizenship, visit http://www.faithfulcitizenship.org/youth. You can take a quiz to see if you are a faithful citizen, listen to podcasts to learn about Catholic social teaching, watch videos about how youth can make a different in their communities, and much more.
Please share with us what political issues most concern you right now.
What ideas do you have for addressing these issues?
What are you already doing to be a faithful citizen?