When I was a child growing up in Falfurrias, one of the most popular questions when I approached a senior citizen was, “De quien eres hijito?—To whom do you belong little boy?” I would answer, “De Tavito and Lala Barrera.” “Of course”, they would respond, you look just like your father, you had to be a Barrera.” I would always wondered, if they knew, why did they ask?
For the most part, children look a lot like their parents. As we grow older, we start to act like them, imitate their mannerisms, some of their key phrases. Without a doubt, the home is the first school. For better and for worse, we inherit the customs, the values, the attitudes of our parents. If a child gets along well with others or is always looking to pick a fight—the behavior reflects directly on what is happening or not happening at home. There are some exceptions given the possibility of mental disorders. Yet, the majority of us are the image of our parents. That’s why parents should not get too angry—too frustrated with their children when they misbehave, because they are looking at a reflection of themselves. Indeed, we are the product of our family; but we are also part of a bigger family—the family of God. We are all made in the image and likeness of God. When we love each other the image shines like a bright light. When we sin the image is distorted—we do not reflect the person that we were made to be. Sort of like when we take a picture and the image is crystal clear or the image is out of focus. We have the potential to always present a clear image. Our behavior determines the clarity or lack of clarity. Consider the life of a person like Mother Teresa, St. Pope John Paul, Martin Luther King—they were always thinking about others. Saints are just people who allow the image of God to shine through them.
The Pharisees knew well of what Jesus was speaking when He asked them about the image on the coin. Of course the image was that of Caesar—the Emperor—a temporal prince. Since they were talking about money; money must have been their priority. Wherever we spend our time, our energy, our talents—that’s where our priorities are. Jesus threw the issue right back in their faces. If money is your concern—go with Caesar—live for Caesar. But if you want to live for God—reflect His image.
The Pharisees knew that Jesus was directing them to look at themselves, their life-style, their love for money. Unfortunately many of us have the same question. How much should I give? What is expected of me? A better question is: Whose image do I reflect? What are my priorities? If we reflect the image of God; if we are trying to be like Jesus; if we are concerned with being a servant to those most in need—then we don’t ask silly questions. God wants all or nothing. He is the reason that we are here—alive—breathing—able to praise Him. God thinks of us every instant of our life. Without Him we can do nothing, we are nothing. With Him all things are possible. Never ask about how much we owe. We cannot pay what we owe. Jesus has paid our bill with His blood on the Cross. We are loved without conditions. “Go for broke”. Put everything we have on God; He will not disappoint us.
Consider that everything, including our life, belongs to God.