Catena Aurea, Mt 22:15-21, Sunday 29A
St. Jerome (340/2-420): Lately under Caesar Augustus, Judaea, which was subject to the Romans, had been made tributary when the census was held of the whole world; and there was a great division among the people, some saying that tribute ought to be paid to the Romans in return for the security and quiet which their arms maintained for all. The Pharisees on the other hand, self-satisfied in their own righteousness, contended that the people of God who paid tithes and gave first-fruits, and did all the other things which are written in the Law, ought not to be subject to human laws. But Augustus had given the Jews as king, Herod, son of Antipater, a foreigner and proselyte; he was to exact the tribute, yet to be subject to the Roman dominion. The Pharisees therefore send their disciples with the Herodians, that is, with Herod’s soldiers, or those whom the Pharisees in mockery called Herodians, because they paid tribute to the Romans, and were not devoted to the worship of God.
Attributed to St. John Chrysostom On Matthew: He therefore calls them hypocrites, that seeing Him to be a discerner of human hearts, they might not be foolish enough to carry through their design. Observe thus how the Pharisees spoke pleasantly that they might destroy Him, but Jesus put them to shame that He might save them; for God’s wrath is more profitable to man, than man’s favour.
St. Hilary of Poitiers (300-368) On Matthew: We should also to render unto God the things that are His, namely, body, soul, and will. For Caesar’s coin is in the gold, in which His image was portrayed; but that is God’s coin, on which the Divine image is stamped. Give therefore your money to Caesar, but preserve a conscience without offence for God.
Origen (182-253/4) On Matthew: They then who without any moderation inculcate the law of God, and command us to have no care for the things required by the body, are the Pharisees, who forbade to give tribute to Caesar, “forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God has created” (1 Tim. 4:3). They, on the other hand, who allow too much indulgence to the body are the Herodians. But our Saviour wishes neither that virtue should be enfeebled by caring immoderately for the flesh; nor that our fleshly nature should be oppressed by our unremitting efforts after virtue.