Our Gospel today warns us against our seeing ourselves as superior beings who need to be treated with the highest respect. That is a danger we priests must avoid. Church History tells us how we might mistakenly see ourselves as superior.
In the year 315 Emperor Constantine gave Christianity a privileged place in his empire. But when he died in 337 his son Constantius abandoned Christianity in favor of Arianism, a religion that honors Christ as a good man, but not as the Son of God.
By the year 460 the Arians had overtaken almost all of Europe, but Christianity was saved when a new nation, the Franks, overran central Europe, and their king married a Christian girl who persuaded the Frank nobility to be baptized as Christians.
Now, the Franks had a strange social structure that saw all dignity as descending on their king and those relatives who share in the kings inheritance.
Now, the priests and bishops were not blood relatives of the king, sharing in his inheritance, but to give them real dignity, the king had each of them come before the nobles while professing, "I have an inheritance, my inheritance is the Lord."
That gave them the right to lord it over common people, and some of them still exercise that right; but its goes against what Jesus said, "You know that those who exercise authority among the Gentles lord it over them, but it cannot be like that wit you. You must serve the rest."
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