"Render therefore to Caesar," says our Lord, "the things that are Caesar's", and then He adds: "And to God the things that are God's"
This often-quoted statement means that since the soul of a man belongs to God who made it in His image, all the faculties ought to return to Him, in the sense of paying the tribute of their worship and service.
"We," says St. Augustine, "are the coins of God stamped with His image, and God demands the return of His coins as Caesar did the return of his." And St. Jerome adds: "Let us give to Caesar the money which bears his inscription, since we cannot do otherwise, but let us give ourselves freely and of our own accord to God, for what our soul bears is the glorious imprint of the face of a God and not the more or less majestic head of an emperor." Bossuet says: "This image will one day pass again through the hands and before the eyes of Jesus Christ, and some day He will look at us and say: Whose image and inscription is this? And the very depth of our being will answer: God's. It is for Him that we were made and we must bear His stamp upon us. But what has become of the divine features which we ought to bear? Christian soul, may God's image be in you!”
It is in this sense that we must interpret this Sunday's Gospel, one of the last of the ecclesiastical year and in which the Church reminds us of the end of the world. Thus the Epistle twice speaks of the coming of Christ as nigh at hand. St. Paul prays that "He who hath begun a good work in you, will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus" (Epistle).
Source: Dom Gaspar Lefebvre, OSB, 1945, adapted and abridged.