What do you think will happen when a child ceases to be a child and takes on the role of parents, so that she no longer obeys or respects her parents?

When parents lose control over their children, things begin to fall apart. The same happens when parents abdicate their responsibility and allow their selfish needs to be at the center of attention, so that children are left to fend for their physical and emotional needs. It is the same too, if a priest thinks of himself and of his needs, so that he cares less for the people God has entrusted to his care or even exploits them! Things fall apart when these things happen. Or, do you think things will not fall apart when young people continue to have children without a stable family where those children can grow up with love and care? Do you think any nation will stand for too long when its leaders think and act as if they are gods and enact laws that have no respect for God and human dignity? That is why Jesus says that what belongs to Caesar should be given to Caesar and what belongs to God should be given to God (Mt. 22:21). In truth, nothing actually belongs to Caesar except what has been given to him by God, which has to be utilized in accordance to God’s laws. Things begin to fall apart when there is a reversal of principles of authentic human living, so that what belongs to God is given to Caesar!

All that we have is a gift to us: parents, husband, wife, children, friends, and all our achievements! These we can lose anytime. We received them as gifts from God and they can go back to Him when He wants. We must make an effort so that our thoughts, decisions and actions each moment align with God, otherwise things may begin to fall apart. It is in this profound awareness that the American Pledge of Allegiance was written: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all!” In his famous address after the great battle at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in 1863, President Lincoln noted “…that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause which they gave the last full measure of devotion, that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this Nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom…”. If a nation remains under God, it will prosper and give life and freedom to children of God. If a nation does not recognize it is under God and its leaders refuse to obey God, they may sow the seeds of eventual disaster. History is a witness to this truth. Caesar must remain Caesar and not God!

Every life belongs to God and all we have come from God as a gift to be utilized in His honor. This is why after birth, a child is given back to God through the Church at baptism; it is the reason why a couple starting a family presents itself to God for a blessing and commit themselves to love each other, under God’s direction and grace; it is the reason why we wake up in the morning and pray, handing over the day to God to whom life belongs, and at the close of the day we thank Him for guiding us and ask for forgiveness for those moments we did not care to know or follow His clues and inspirations. It is the reason why we must make time to be with God in prayer, to worship Him with others at Mass and prayer meetings.

Things fall apart in our lives, families, communities, nation when we are no longer under God, but have made God under us! Disaster is to give to Caesar what belongs to God! In what ways have you put God under yourself rather than being under God? An honest attention to this question may usher in a new beginning in your life.