Sermon of St. Jerome for Tuesday of the 2nd Week of Lent: Sitting on Moses Seat

Homily by St. Jerome, Priest

Bk. iv Comm. on Matth. xxiii

Was there ever man gentler and kinder than the Lord? The Pharisees tempted Him; their craft was confounded, and, in the words of the Psalmist, The arrows of babes have pierced them, Ps. lxiii. 8, and nevertheless, because of the dignity of their priesthood and name, He exhorteth the people to be subject to them, by doing according to their words, though not according to their works. By the words “Moses’ seat” we are to understand the teaching of the law. Thus also must we mystically take: “Sitteth in the seat of the scornful”, Ps. i. 1, and likewise, “overthrew the seats of them that sold doves”, Matth. xxi. 12, to describe doctrine.

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæum. Sequel of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
Cap. xxiii. Ch. xxiii.
In illo tempore: Locutus est Jesus ad turbas, et ad discipulos suos, dicens: Super cathedram Moysi sederunt Scribæ et Pharisæi. Omnia ergo quæcumque dixerint vobis, servate et facite: secundum opera vero eorum nolite facere: dicunt enim et non faciunt. Alligant enim onera gravia, et importabilia, et imponunt in humeros hominum: digito autem suo nolunt ea movere. Omnia vero opera sua faciunt ut videantur ab hominibus: dilatant enim phylacteria sua, et magnificant fimbrias. Amant autem primos recubitus in cœnis, et primas cathedras in synagogis, et salutationes in foro, et vocari ab hominibus Rabbi. Vos autem nolite vocari Rabbi. Unus est enim Magister vester, omnes autem vos fratres estis. Et patrem nolite vocare vobis super terram: unus est enim Pater vester, qui in cœlis est. Nec vocemini magistri: quia Magister vester unus est, Christus. Qui major est vestrum, erit minister vester. Qui autem se exaltaverit, humiliabitur: et qui se humiliaverit, exaltabitur. At that time: Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples, saying: The Scribes and the Pharisees have sitten on the chair of Moses. All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do; but according to their works, do ye not; for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy and insupportable burdens, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but with a finger of their own they will not move them. And all these works they do to be seen of men: for they make their phylacteries broad, and enlarge their fringes. And they love the first places at feasts, and the first chairs in the synagogues, and salutations in the market-place, and to be called by men, Rabbi. But be not you called Rabbi; for one is your master, and all you are brethren. And call none your father upon earth; for one is your Father, who is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters; for one is your Master, Christ. He that is the greatest among you, shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled; and he that shall humble himself, shall be exalted.

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