Salutations! How are you? I hope that you are well on this Thursday of the Second Week of Easter. Within the United States today is a day of notoriety in that it is referred to as “Tax Day.” Until this year I did not realize that April 15th has not always been the official last day to file Income Tax information with the Internal Revenue Service or the IRS. There was a time when it was March 1st and then March 15th and it wasn’t until 1955 that it changed to April 15th (nationaldaycalendar.com). With the pandemic in full force last year the date was changed to July 15th however, for most of the last 65+ years the day has fallen on the halfway point of the month of April.
Whenever I think of taxes my mind ponders a few quotes that I’ve heard over the years namely:
“Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God” (Mark 12:17). As Catholic Christians we can in good conscience pay taxes since they generally go to support government assistance programs, infrastructure, building projects, and other initiatives. We can also rightly raise our voice when tax dollars would be directed towards policies or organizations (such as promoting abortion) that are in conflict with our fundamental beliefs.
“No taxation without representation!” This was one of the rallying cries of the colonies with Britain that precipitated the American Revolution. According to at least one source that I was reading it was phrase popularized by a lawyer by the name of James Otis (constitutioncenter.org). Paying taxes has never been a joyful activity- except perhaps for some tax collectors…which reminds me of The Beatles classic song “Taxman” but that’s another topic for another time - it nonetheless has the capacity to help support the common good of our society.
“…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes” (Quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin - goodreads.com). Though it was meant to be a proverbial tongue-in-cheek remark there is a great deal of truth within the words. For various reasons people fear both taxes and death, one for a loss of money and the other for a loss of life. However, from a faith perspective we can also depend upon the certainty that Jesus is “The Way and the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6). Furthermore, it has been revealed that, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Our Lord promised us that “In the world you will have trouble” - and by extension we might be able to include “death and taxes” under the umbrella of “trouble” - “but take courage, I have conquered the world” (John 16:33).
In this Easter season we prayerfully meditate upon the Mystery of the Resurrection of Jesus in anticipation of our own. May the Lord help us with His Grace to press onward in this life with all of the challenges and difficult moments in the confident trust that death does not have the final word, nor do taxes, but “The Word” who “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).