Saint Bernard
of Clairvaux

“... saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.” (Matthew 23:2.)

Origen of Alexandria (part 2 of Pope Benedict’s reflections on Origen) comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“Therefore when he speaks “to the crowds and his disciples” he talks about “the scribes and Pharisees who sit upon the throne of Moses.” I judge these statements to be referring to the following groups. Those who profess that they interpret the law of Moses and glory in this, or who know the law well and seek to profit by this knowledge — these sit upon the throne of Moses. Those who do not depart from the letter of the law are called scribes. Then there are those who profess to know even more, setting themselves apart because they think they are better than the masses. That is why they are called Pharisees, which interpreted means “to divide or segregate” (for Phares translated means “division”).” (Commentary on Matthew, 9.)

O God,
Who made of the Abbot Saint Bernard
a man consumed with zeal for your house
and a light shining and burning in your Church,
grant, through his intercession,
that we may be on fire with the same spirit
and walk always as children of light.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen