Bishop Gregory strutted along the road, hands crossed behind his back, chin held high. His long, milky robe swayed, the fabric sweeping the dusty street. The people lined both sides observing the religious man trek from his hometown towards the majestic palace of the King. He’d been summoned.
This was his time to move up in the rankings. Gregory had spent hours praying aloud on the street corners, days sitting with the homeless as he fasted, and years studying the Word so he’d be able to answer any of the peasant’s inquiries. He had paid his dues. Today, it’d all pay off.
The castle towers glimmered against the setting sun. He was almost there. The bishop could feel blisters forming on his heels from the journey, and he winced with each step. But to face the King and hear his commendations would make him forget about the years of sacrifice.
After waiting for an hour, he nervously stepped into the King’s chambers.
“Your actions have come to my ears.”
“I demand you leave my kingdom. Go and never return.”
Bishop Gregory grabbed a chair nearby to aid him. The command pierced him like a spear. He must have misunderstood.
“Excuse me, sir?”
“I’ve heard about your prayers, exalting yourself and minimizing your countryman. It has been reported about your lavish meals as the beggar outside your door died. Widows are forced to tithe to your church but no assistance was given them. You used your religious status to obtain riches and prestige. That is your only reward. Now you will gain what you’ve truly earned. Leave now. You are banished from my kingdom.”
Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.