Should the occupied people of Israel pay taxes to Caesar? That was the question Jesus’ enemies used to set a trap in today’s Gospel reading from the 22nd chapter of Matthew.

Speaking before praying the noonday Angelus with the “socially distanced” crowd of faithful in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis explained how the Lord dealt with the question — and avoided the trap of his critics.

“But He knows their wickedness and avoids the pitfall,” the Holy Father explained. “He asks them to show Him the coin, the coin of the taxes, takes it in His hands, and asks whose is the imprinted image. They answer that it is Caesar’s, that is, the Emperor’s. Then Jesus replies: ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s’ (v. 21). With this reply, Jesus places Himself above the controversy. Jesus, always above. ”

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