My Sisters and Brothers! The Pharisees were very cunning questioning Jesus, however they knew the Bible well. Our Blessed Lord asked then first: “Whose head, or following the Greek translation of the Gospel of St Matthew, whose image – eikon is on the denarius coin?” They said: “Caesar’s.” Then Jesus said: “Give back to the Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” That’s how the passage finished today but if we kept reading we would find this sentence: “This reply took them by surprise and they left him alone and went away.” Why did Jesus’ reply take them by surprise? Because they realized straight away that he spoke of what is written in the first chapter of Genesis: “God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.” It means that every human person bears an image of God. As I have said already that image in Greek is – eikon, which we use often too. Just think how often we talk about icons. I don’t mean the icons you find on your computer, smartphone or tablet but those beautiful and mysterious paintings coming particularly from Eastern tradition. An icon is like a window that enables you to look into the divine, awesome world we all dream to be part of. An icon gives us a glimpse of the mystery of Our God. The very first icon was produced by God himself when he created the first people. When he blessed them so that they could be fruitful and multiply, he wanted them to fill the earth with icons of himself. Giving the humans the power of procreation he gave them talents to continue his magnificent art of creating new icons of God.
When the fullness of time came and the Son of God was to descend among humans, he appeared as a human himself. The second Person of the Blessed Trinity – Jesus Christ, didn’t appear in some exulted form of an angel or seraphim or cherubim or some other but as we profess in our Creed every Sunday: “He was incarnate of the Virgin and became man.” Some people wonder why Jesus had to be a human person. He has become a human being because God has never ceased seeing in every human person the image of himself. I guess that those who question the reality of God becoming man are the people who can’t see the image of God in their neighbor.
To finish this homily let me do a quiz.
Who is on the obverse of 5¢? Queen Elizabeth II. Who is on the 10¢? Queen Elizabeth II. Who is on 50¢? Queen Elizabeth II. Who is on 1$? Queen Elizabeth II. Who is on 2$? Queen Elizabeth II.
Now, let’s do a bit exercising? Turn to the person next to you. Whose image can you see in his or her face? God. Turn to the person behind you. Whose image can you see in his or her face? God. Look at the person in front of you. Whose image can you see in his or her face? God. Look at our altar servers. Whose image can you see in their faces? God.
My dear friends! Queens, kings, presidents and PMs will pass away. The coins produced during their time will be lost but you can be sure that in two thousand years when people look into each other faces they can still say: “I can see an image of our God in you.” Even if because of lack of faith they may not see God in their neighbor God will still see the image of himself in humans.