THE “ROBES” & “SEATS” OF RELIGIOUS PEOPLE
“And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, ‘How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, declared, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I put thy enemies under thy feet.’ David himself calls him Lord; so how is he his son?’ And the great throng heard him gladly. And in his teaching he said, ‘Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and to have salutations in the market places and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.’” (Mk 12: 35-40)
Now, let me make no mistake: Here our Lord Jesus Christ is talking about those of us, – yes, us, – who “like to go about in long robes,” like the scribes. He’s talking about us, the “professional” religious people, who get “the best seats” at our church-gatherings. Not unlike the scribes, we might sometimes miss the main point of our Lord’s message in Scripture (like the point the scribes missed, about Christ being the supreme “Lord,” and not merely “the son,” of David), and yet somewhat enjoy our own, imagined supremacy over other people, and “the places of honor” at church-feasts and such.
I’m not sure anybody else in “long robes” will read, or relate to, this reflection today. But I’ll just say for myself: Let me be humbled this morning, in my “long robes,” and join “the great throng” that hears the message of our Lord “gladly,” as mentioned in the passage above. I need truly to “hear,” and embrace in my heart, the word of the Lord, regardless of the “robes” I wear, and of the “best seat” I might get in the house of my church-community. Lord, “lead us not into temptation,” by our very “seats” and “robes” in our churches, “but deliver us from the evil one.” For Thine, and not anybody else's, is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen!