Today gospel ends with a single sentence from Jesus, "This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent." If this were all Jesus ever said,life would be so simple. All I would have to do is believe in Jesus. Indeed, throughout the history of Christianity, there have been those who preached and even today preach that faith in Jesus is all you need. Read the entire New Testatment and you find it isn't that simple.
Luke 12:48 "Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more."
And of special import for us Americans today, Romans 13:7:
Pay to all their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, toll to whom toll is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.
In our self-centered culture, today we are reminded that Chriistianity is not just me and Jesus. We have a moral responsibility to the common good.
The Catechism says simply:
2239 It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom. The love and service of one's country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity. Submission to legitimate authorities and service of the common good require citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community.
2240 Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one's country....
Before you think it's easy for a priest to talk, keep in mind that diocesan priests in the US are single, no dependents, and have to pay self-employment tax. Do I like it? No, but I understand that I am morally obliged to the societies in which I live (city, state, nation).
Rather than grumbling today, I think I will just be thankful for all that I have.