Back in the book of Samuel, after Israel had a long string of judges that couldn’t permanently keep Israel in line (this is the story of the book of Judges), Israel demanded God to put a king over them. God, working through the last judge, the priest Samuel, did so and set Saul over them as king. After Him we had the great king David, then Solomon, etc.
In our First Reading this Sunday, the Lord addresses Cyrus, the current king of Israel in the exile whom God set in place and anointed to bring the Israelites back. Just like Cyrus, today there are many kings and governors who are put into power to accomplish God’s plans even though they know God not. As God says to Cyrus: “Though you do not know me, I arm you that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that, apart from me, all is nothing.”
The Lord tells Cyrus that he can be king, but also makes it clear to him that he is only king as long as the Lord wants him to be because, really, the Lord is King! He is the true King of Israel and the King of all the nations.
This is the theme of this Sunday’s Readings. The Lord makes it even clearer to Cyrus in the preceding verses of our First Reading. He says,
It is for the sake of my servant Jacob, of Israel my chosen one, that I have called you by your name, conferring a title though you do not know me. I am the Lord, unrivalled; there is no other God besides me. Though you do not know me, I arm you that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that, apart from me, all is nothing.
In our Gospel, Jesus is put before a trap by the Pharisees. The Pharisees send their disciples to ask Him: “Is it permissible to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” Jesus, knowing their ill-intentions to trap Him, replied:
“You hypocrites! Why do you set this trap for me? Let me see the money you pay the tax with.” They handed