“Whose image is this and whose inscription?” (Matthew 22:20)
In the Gospel today we have two groups of people who are convinced of their way of seeing reality and life, the Pharisees and Herodians. I imagine Jesus looking down at the coin (which bears the image of a false god, Caesar), His gaze above and encompassing the whole scene. The others, meanwhile, are narrowly focused on this small coin. The phrase “whose image is this and whose inscription?” strikes me the most, followed by the response of Jesus, “repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”
Jesus’s vision of the situation and His response is above the earthly view. He broadens their understanding by recalling God is greater and all things belong to Him. He brings God into the situation, and this changes everything when the focus is shifted.
My vision of reality and God is like the Pharisees and Herodians, often narrowly focused. This week the Holy Spirit has surprised me in surfacing this question Jesus asks in unexpected moments. This question arose when I compared myself to others; instead of seeing only what I lacked, He reminded me I belong to God and am made in His image and likeness. He now poses this question when looking at others, too; He opens me to a true sense of curiosity, seeking how God is revealed in the people I encounter in my day. I am moved to apply this question when unwanted interruptions arise in my day. I know there must be more than I can see, asking the Lord to let me see reality as He sees. Even when difficult and painful memories surface, sharing them with the Lord and allowing Him to illuminate grace at work in the bigger picture. All things belong to God, so I want to see with eyes of faith the beatific vision here on earth, learning by grace to constantly behold the image and inscription of God in all things.
I am confident that growth in faith includes Him drawing us higher to His vision, seeing the greater, true reality infused by grace. The Holy Spirit teaches us to see Him in all things, so we can come to know the identity of God better.