First reading: Exodus 33:12-23
Psalm: Psalm 99
Second reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Gospel: Matthew 22:15-22
Whom do we belong to? Sometimes it seems like we belong to Caesar. Taxes, legal restrictions on our freedoms, imprisonment if you engage in civil disobedience. Or, perhaps, we feel that our job owns us. Or our families. Sometimes, we even feel owned by our material possessions. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it: "Things are in the saddle, and ride mankind." But to whom do we really belong? Take a look at any person. Whose inscription is on him or her? Each is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). There can be no doubt, then, what Jesus means here. Give yourselves to God because it is to him that you belong. It is God who claims us, who made us in his own image. We do not belong to anything or to anyone else. We don't even belong to ourselves. We belong to God in all our being, with all our talents, interests, time, and wealth. "We give thee but thine own, whatever the gift my be. All that we have is thine alone, a trust, O Lord, from thee."