The Gospel of the day (Luke, 11:47-54; 12,1) 

“Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. So you are witnesses and consent to the deeds of your fathers; for they killed them, and you build their tombs. Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, `I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it shall be required of this generation. Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.” As he went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard, and to provoke him to speak of many things, lying in wait for him, to catch at something he might say. Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”

The danger of high positions 

Saint John Chrysostom, Homilies on Matthew, Homily XL, IV, in Church Fathers and Writers (1994), vol. 23, p. 489 

But can’t you tell me that someone in a high position can do whatever they want? (…) These words come from the mouths of people infatuated with worldly matters, from the mouths of people attached to the earth. However, nothing can disturb the spiritual person. What harm can it do to them? Will they lose their position? So what? If they have lost it rightfully, it is for their own benefit, for nothing upsets God more than being a priest without deserving it. If they have lost it unjustly, then the condemnation is directed towards the one who deposed them, not towards them; for the one who suffers an injustice and endures it with courage gains greater boldness before God. Therefore, let us not strive to have high positions, to be surrounded by honors and power, but let us be virtuous and philosophical. High positions often lead to actions that are not pleasing to God. You must have a strong soul to fulfill a high position as it should be. The one who does not have such a position philosophizes whether they want to or not; but the one who holds a high position experiences what a man would experience living together with a pleasant and beautiful girl, but having been commanded not to look at her without being punished. That’s how power is. That is why many high positions have made people swear, lose control, lose control of their tongues, and open the door of their mouths; their soul, carried away like the wind, sinks the ship into the deepest abyss of sins. Do you admire a person surrounded by such great dangers? Do you say that such a person is worthy of imitation? What madness! Besides what I have told you, think about how many enemies, how many informants, how many flatterers surround them! Tell me, does such a person deserve to be considered happy? Who can say so?


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