Wednesday, September 30, 2009


“St. Jerome” by Jacques Blanchard, 1632


Biographical Information about St. Jerome [1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Jerome

Readings and Commentary:

2 Timothy 3:14-17

Remain faithful to what you have learned and believed,
because you know from whom you learned it,
and that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures,
which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation
through faith in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is inspired by God
and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction,
and for training in righteousness,
so that one who belongs to God may be competent,
equipped for every good work.
Commentary on
2 Tm 3:14-17

St. Paul, in his instructions to St. Timothy tells him that sacred Scripture provides wisdom because it is inspired by God (Here he is speaking of the Hebrew Canon since the first Christian Canon has not yet been codified. However,
Dei Verbum from Dogmatic Constitution On Divine Revelation quotes this passage as the Church’s view on that body of Holy Scripture as well.)

Psalm 119:9, 10, 11, 12, 1:3, 14

R. (12) Lord, teach me your statutes.

How shall a young man be faultless in his way?
By keeping to your words.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

With all my heart I seek you;
let me not stray from your commands.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

Within my heart I treasure your promise,
that I may not sin against you.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

Blessed are you, O LORD;
teach me your statutes.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

With my lips I declare
all the ordinances of your mouth.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

In the way of your decrees I rejoice,
as much as in all riches.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
Commentary on
Ps 119:9, 10, 11, 12, 1:3, 14

An acrostic poem; each of the eight verses of the first strophe (aleph) begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet; each verse of the second strophe (beth) begins with the second letter; and so on for all 22 letters of the alphabet.

The entire work is in praise of the Law, and the joys to be found in keeping it. It is not "legalism" but a love and desire for the word of God in Israel's Law, which is the expression of the Lord's revelation of himself and his will for man.

Matthew 13:47-52

Jesus said to the disciples:
"The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea,
which collects fish of every kind.
When it is full they haul it ashore
and sit down to put what is good into buckets.
What is bad they throw away.
Thus it will be at the end of the age.
The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous
and throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth."
Jesus asked them:
"Do you understand all these things?"
They answered, "Yes."
And he replied,
"Then every scribe who has been instructed in the Kingdom of heaven
is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom
both the new and the old."
Commentary on
Mt 13:47-52

Jesus concludes his discourse about the Kingdom of Heaven with a final parable about the fisherman’s net. He then makes reference to the disciples’ (and their successor’s) role as “Christian scribes” or teachers of the Kingdom of God. In his description he refers to the “new and the old” being brought out. This reference is to the new teaching from Jesus and the old from the Law and Prophets. The concluding statement emphasizes the importance of the duty of those who instruct the faithful to bring the fullness of the meaning of scripture incorporating not only the vision of the old testament but the fulfillment of it in the light of Christ.

CCC: Mt 13:50 1034; Mt 13:52 1117

There was an radio program that aired within the past few weeks (In Ann Arbor, it was carried on Catholic Radio, probably an episode of Catholic Answers) that spoke about Islam and the Koran. The author made the point that the Koran may only be called the Koran if it is written in Arabic and that many Muslims memorize large parts of it as an act of faith but do not understand Arabic and therefore do not understand what they are memorizing. The program guest even told about an encounter with a Pakistani who said, after boasting about how much of the Koran he had memorized that one day he would get a translation to see what it meant.

Thank God for St. Jerome! While he wrote many letters and commentaries on sacred scripture, his great gift to the Church was translating the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Bible) into the Vulgate or Latin translation. In his time (340 – 420 AD) this would have been analogous to translating it into the vernacular for most of the world. The Roman Empire had made Latin the common language that held its empire together and the word of God, through St. Jerome’s heroic effort would have spread to places that had been previously kept in darkness because of ignorance.

In St. Matthew’s Gospel, the Kingdom of God is likened to “a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.” St. Jerome, through the grace of God, helped to widen that net that it might cover the whole world so that people of every race and nation should have the choice of good over evil.

We ask St. Jerome for his prayers today. May we continue his great work of bringing the word of God to the whole world through our words and actions.


[1] The picture is “St. Jerome” by Jacques Blanchard, 1632
[2] Text of Readings is taken from the New American Bible, Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 1973, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

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