Tess Koning, a member of our Parish Pastoral Council and Principal of St Peter’s Primary School, reads from the Gospel of Mark (12: 13-17) in which Jesus says, ‘Pay Caesar what belongs to Caesar — and God what belongs to God.’

Tess says, today’s Gospel tells us about one of several times when groups of people attempt to trip up Jesus when speaking, to discredit him and put his life at risk. In this case it is the Herodians and the Pharisees.

Jesus’ intention in his response is to expose his opponents’ hypocrisy, not to explain politics and religion.

At this time in history, the tax was to be paid in Roman coins, which belonged to the emperor anyway, so Jesus’ comment of giving back to Caesar was as simple as the comment he made; “pay Caesar was belongs to Caesar”.

Rather than stopping here, Jesus goes on to make the same point made at a political level to a spiritual level. He reminds them of their relationship to God and that they should be as conscientious in their religious duty and service to God as they are to Caesar.

Today, Tess invites us to place this Gospel in the context of our time. We, too, can get caught up in our lives on the focus of what a secular society tells us is important. She asks us to consider how well we are nourishing our spiritual life and what small things we could focus on to further commit ourselves to the service of God.