Whenever I have gone to a baseball game or a play or some other spectacle, my dad, without fail, would comment on our seats. If our seats are good, he will lavish praise upon on view and how close we are to the field. If they aren’t so good he will say, “Well, every seat inside the stadium/theater is better than every seat outside.”
In the gospel this Sunday Jesus preaches about pride and money. He seeks to teach us about generosity and self-gift. Jesus is seeking to show us that what we give God is judged on what it costs us not on how much it is. An important lesson. But I think there is another thing to learn in the story as well.
When explaining to his disciples that they should be wary of the Scribes behavior he mentions the Scribe’s long robs, their devouring of widow’s houses, and lengthy prayers. He also mentions that Scribes often sit in a seat of honor in the synagogue and in places of honor at banquets.
Immediately after this condemnation of the Scribes’ behavior, the story shifts and the gospel says, “Jesus sat down opposite the treasury…” I don’t believe this is an accident. Jesus uses the seat location choice of the Scribes to demonstrate their pride and then Jesus demonstrates his humility by sitting across from the treasury in the Temple. Jesus’ proper place to sit is inside the Temple, but instead he chooses to sit across from he treasury.
Jesus doesn’t just teach us via words and admonitions about how we should behave, but he also demonstrates it and acts it out himself. This is one of the reasons that following Jesus isn’t just a thing of words.
Within the master and disciple relationship, masters teach and act and disciples listen and mirror that behavior. The same is true for the disciples of Jesus. They not only listen to his teaching the seek to emulate his behavior. Disciples do this until they naturally behave as the master would. This is the life of a disciple of Jesus.
What does this mean for us? First we are to listen to the teaching of Jesus. We do this by reading Scripture and listening to those whom he has put in places of authority (the Church). Then we seek to emulate his behavior. We seek to do what Jesus would do.
Live It: Change where you sit at the dinner table this week. What happens in you? What reaction does it get from others? Spend some time thinking and praying about the answers to both questions.