Catholic Kids Homilies – God and Caesar! Ordinary Time 29A
God and Caesar! A fun Catholic homily for kids based on the readings for the 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time, cycle A.
Loyalty, especially to one’s peer group, is an admired quality to young people at this age. This Sunday’s Gospel reading provides an opportunity to help them understand that loyalty to God requires giving to God what is due to God. The Pharisees send their disciples to test Jesus with a question about taxes.
Dear Children, Sunday’s Gospel , Matthew 22:15-21, Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
Give each child a coin to hold. Explain that they are to hold it tightly in their fist until you give them further instructions.
Has anyone ever asked you a question that there just wasn’t any way to answer without getting yourself into trouble? That’s what we call a loaded question. A loaded question is one that is worded so that a person cannot answer it without appearing to be guilty.
Here are a couple of examples of loaded questions:
Have you quit cheating at cards? If you answer, “Yes” you are admitting that you used to cheat. If you answer, “No” you are admitting that you still cheat.
Do you still pick on your little brother? That is like the other question. You are either going to admit that you used to pick on your brother or that you still pick on him.
Sometimes a loaded question is asked to to try to trick a person into saying something that will get them into trouble. Our Bible lesson today is a good example of that.
Jesus was gaining great popularity among the Israelites. This was very upsetting to the religious leaders called Pharisees. They thought He was a threat to their authority. They tried everything they could think of to make Jesus look bad and yet Jesus had more and more followers every day. So a group of Pharisees met and came up with a plot to trick Jesus into saying something that would discredit Him among His followers.
The people in Jesus’ day were required to pay taxes to the Roman government. That was not very popular with the people. The plan was to go to Jesus and ask Him his opinion about paying the taxes. So, the Pharisees sent their followers, with a few of Herod’s followers mixed in and asked Jesus, “Teacher, we know how honest you are. You teach the way of God truthfully. Now tell us what you think about this: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” They were actually trying to trick Jesus, because they knew if He said, “Yes,” the people would be angry. But if He said, “No,” he would get into trouble with the Roman authorities.
Jesus saw right through their plan and He did a very wise thing. He asked them for a coin. Then He said, “Whose picture is on this coin?”
They answered, “It is Caesar.” Caesar was the Roman ruler and all taxes had to be paid to him.
Jesus then said to them, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”
Look at your coin. Whose picture is on it? (Allow kids to answer/guess.) What does it say right above his picture? It says, “The United States of America.” Well, I guess that means that this coin belongs to the person whose picture is on it.
But what about God? Jesus also said “Give to God what belongs to God.” The Bible says that we were created by God and that we were created in the image of God. If we are created by God, and we were created in His image, we must belong to Him. That means we must give ourselves to Him!
On the count of three I want you to flip your coin in the air and repeat with me “give yourselves to God” as you try to catch your coin. (Count to 3.)
Closing prayer: Dear God, help us give You what is Yours. Help us spend our hours in acts of love and our days in doing acts of kindness. May we always obey You and give You honor. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Pray the Sign of the Cross.
Andrew Olive, Headteacher
Gospel: Matthew 22:15-21 Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
The Pharisees went away to work out between them how to trap Jesus in what he said. And they sent their disciples to him, together with the Herodians, to say, ‘Master, we know that you are an honest man and teach the way of God in an honest way, and that you are not afraid of anyone, because a man’s rank means nothing to you. Tell us your opinion, then. Is it permissible to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’ But Jesus was aware of their malice and replied, ‘You hypocrites! Why do you set this trap for me? Let me see the money you pay the tax with.’ They handed him a denarius, and he said, ‘Whose head is this? Whose name?’ ‘Caesar’s’ they replied. He then said to them, ‘Very well, give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God.’
Payment of taxes is unlikely to be a disputed issue in your family. Yet families can still learn something from this Gospel reading. Jesus’ answer to the Herodians and Pharisees redirects their question to focus on the issue of greatest importance: loving and honoring God. Taking this perspective can help us make good judgments about the competing issues of importance in our lives.
As your family gathers, make a list of the activities that your family spends time doing together, such as household tasks, jobs, academics, and recreational activities. Talk about the importance of each of these activities. Ask what would happen if there were an imbalance in our attention to these activities and we spent too much time on one activity at the expense of another.
In today’s Gospel Jesus reminds us of the necessity of giving things their proper importance. Read Matthew 22:15-21. The Herodians and Pharisees were giving too much importance to the issue of the payment of taxes. Jesus reminds them that loving and honoring God is of greater importance. In family life we do many important things, but we remember that God is of the greatest importance in our lives. Pray together that your family will learn to keep things in proper perspective, remembering to keep God first in your lives. Pray together today’s psalm, Psalm 96.