Job 38:1, 12-21; 40:3-5
Psalms 139:1-3, 7-8, 9-10, 13-14
Today we celebrate the feast of St Jerome, a doctor of the Church. He was born in modern day Croatia and became a trained academic. He was not baptised until he was 25. He became a hermit in the Syrian desert for five years where he studied Hebrew, so as to understand the Old Testament. He had already studied Greek. He studied in Constantinople and later in Rome, revising the standard Latin text of the Bible which became known as the Vulgate (popular version). He wrote commentaries on the Prophets and New Testament letters, as well as a famed commentary of Matthew’s gospel. In 385 age 44 he moved to Bethlehem where he spent the remaining thirty-five years of his life.
His work was monumental and was born of a deep conviction that the gospels and New Testament letters should be the base for monastic life and prayer. Jerome was noted for being ill-tempered and sarcastic, so his long periods of semi-solitary life may have been a gift for others! It certainly became a gift for the church and is a reminder that even though every one of us flawed, we can contribute our gifts and ‘make a difference’.
The attraction to learning is a wonderful gift, but the road of arrogance and wanting to know the mind of God is a dead-end path. This is revealed in the book of Job from which today’s first reading is taken. Having started to complain to God, Job finds himself clueless in the face of seventy-seven questions from God. He is humbled.
The people of Capernaum had Jesus living and teaching in their midst but they were too arrogant to learn. The people in the nearby towns of Chorazin and Bethsaida witnessed Jesus’ ministry but it did not touch their hearts.
We are reminded by today’s feast and the readings, that we need to be ‘guided along the everlasting way’ as the Psalm invites us to pray. Whatever gifts we have or whatever we achieve, we must always remember the Source of everything we have and bow down in true humility and gratitude.
“Truly you have formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I give you thanks that I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works”.
Brian Traynor CP has been involved in faith formation for many years especially in the form of parish missions and through the Passionist Family Group Movement. Brian is a member of the Passionist community at Holy Cross, Templestowe.