What we hear in today’s first reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah is an expression of God’s power to do whatever He wills. At a time when the people of Israel were in bondage, God promises, through Cyrus, to set them free from their captivity. Twice in this passage, God makes it clear to Cyrus through Isaiah that there is no other God besides Him. Today’s gospel presents this rather disappointing encounter between Jesus and the Pharisees. Out of a malicious intent, they posed a question to Him concerning the payment of taxes to Caesar, hoping that He would fall into their trap. His response reflects His perfect wisdom and knowledge of all human actions and intentions. “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” Whereas the coin for the census tax belonged to Caesar and should therefore be given to him, every human being, including Caesar, is created in the image of God. No one escapes God’s control for we all belong to Him. It is something tremendous that God has such absolute power over all creation and yet most comforting that He only uses His power in our favor. Sadly, the Jewish authorities at the time of Jesus failed to recognize that His ministry was not for any self-gain but for their own good. As long as they continued to see Him as a threat to their authority, it was impossible for them to see the Messiah. When we allow our souls to be dominated by envy, it is hard to see the good in anything or anyone. All we can hope for is that those people fail and be destroyed. Yet, in the end, we end up being the ones destroyed in the process, since envy is like a disease which preys on oneself. The Psalmist today invites us to a life of gratitude and praise as we give the Lord the glory and honor that is due to Him. The envious heart cannot praise God. May our lives continue to reflect the light of God’s glory to the world as we seek to honor Him each day, Amen.