“Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?’ But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, ‘Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.’ And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, ‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’ They answered, ‘The emperor’s.’ Then he said to them, ‘Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.” (Matthew 22:17-22)  Trying to catch Jesus in a controversial statement the Pharisees and Herodians (who disagree completely as to the lawfulness of paying taxes to Caesar) approach him.  These natural foes ally themselves against their common enemy, Jesus.  And as so often the case, Jesus answers them with his own question: looking at the coin, “whose name? whose image?”  Those who would trap him are now trapped.  They leave him and go away because they dare not contemplate the next question raised by the first.  Because our Lord’s response implies this: shifting his gaze from the coin, to the questioners, he asks again, “whose name? whose image?”  Whose image do you bear?  What is your identity?  Our culture answers that in different ways, one of the prevalent ones being that we are an amalgamation of our purchases, the things bought with our coins.  But our faith responds in a different way: you and I bear the image of the God who created us and loves us so much that he seeks for us and fields our stupid questions and other attempts to evade his love.  It is a shame that the Pharisees and Herodians did not stick around because Jesus was not dismissing them; he was inviting them to come to him.  Give to God what belongs to him.  Put aside your questions and stop running for a moment.  Our elder Brother recognizes in us the family resemblance and invites us to spend time with him.  Have a great week.