And love the uppermost places at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
Read Chapter 23
Everything he accused them of was small and trifling. Yet he was dealing with the cause of all the evils: ambition, the violent seizing of the teacher’s chair, and so on. These he brings forward and corrects with diligence, confronting this strongly and earnestly charging them. His own disciples needed to be warned about these matters. The Gospel of Matthew, Homily
For, they love, He says, the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi. For these things, although one may think them small, yet are they a cause of great evils. These things have overthrown both cities and churches.
And it comes upon me now even to weep, when I hear of the first seats, and the greetings, and consider how many ills were hence engendered to the churches of God, which it is not necessary to publish to you now; nay rather as many as are aged men do not even need to learn these things from us.
But mark thou, I pray you, how vainglory prevailed; when they were commanded not to be vainglorious, even in the synagogues, where they had entered to discipline others.
For to have this feeling at feasts, to howsoever great a degree, does not seem to be so dreadful a thing; although even there the teachers ought to be held in reverence, and not in the church only, but everywhere. And like a...