Optional Memorial: St Marcellinus and St Peter, Martyrs
From: Mark 12:13-17
On Tribute to Caesar
 And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to entrap him in his talk.  And they came and said to him, "Teacher, we know that you are true, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?  Should we pay them, or should we not?" But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, "Why put me to the test? Bring me a coin and let me look at it."  And they brought one. And he said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?" They said to him, "Caesar's."  Jesus said to them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they were amazed at him.
13-17. Jesus uses this situation to teach that man belongs totally to his Creator: "You must perforce give Caesar the coin which bears his likeness, but let you give your whole being to God, because it is his likeness, not Caesar's that you bear" (St Jerome, "Comm. in Marcum, in loc.").
Our Lord here asserts a principle which should guide the action of Christians in public life. The Church recognizes the rightful autonomy of earthly realities, but this does not mean that she has not a responsibility to light them up with the light of the Gospel. When they work shoulder to shoulder with other citizens to develop society, Christian lay people should bring a Christian influence to bear: "If the role of the Hierarchy is to teach and to interpret authentically the norms of morality to be followed in this matter, it belongs to lay people, without waiting passively for orders and directives, to take the initiative freely and to infuse a Christian spirit into the mentality, customs, laws and structures of the community in which they live. Changes are necessary, basic reforms are indispensable; lay people should strive resolutely to permeate them with the spirit of the Gospel" (Paul VI, "Populorum Progressio", 81).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.