Monday, 30 September 2013

Dealing with Jealousy: Readings for the Memorial of St Jerome

                                                                    St Jerome, Father of the Church

When the Saint of the day is as big as St Jerome, I tend to hesitate...I'm not sure what I want to include about their lives. So this time around, I found  a secular bio for him, one that does the job in describing his life and work. I'm afraid I'm not too connected to this Saint -not being much of a scholar and all- so I won't share much about him, but will indeed hope to learn more about him as the day goes by! 

 Born in the mid-4th century in Stridon, Dalmatia, Jerome was a young scholar at Rome. He later developed a deep interest in asceticism and worked on creating a unified Latin version of the Bible’s New Testament. After moving to Bethlehem in 386, he translated sections of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Latin, creating the template for the Roman Catholic Church’s Vulgate

St Jerome (347-420)

Reflections: Jealousy is not something you expect to find much of in the Bible, unless it's condemned . And yet, there are many examples of it 
throughout scripture. There are even 2 examples of it in today's readings, one from the Old testament,  one from the new.  From the old testament, we get this idea of a Jealous God. We don't often sing about this God of Jealousy in our hymns. We probably never do. But what are saying about the great divine when we peak of a Jealous deity?

 One website put it nicely

"God is speaking of people making idols and bowing down and worshiping those idols instead of giving God the worship that belongs to Him alone. God is possessive of the worship and service that belong to Him. It is a sin... to worship or serve anything other than God. It is a sin when we desire, or we are envious, or we are jealous of someone because he has something that we do not have. It is a different use of the word “jealous” when God says He is jealous. What He is jealous of belongs to Him; worship and service belong to Him alone, and are to be given to Him alone."

 It's  as if God's jealousy came from a sense of loss, and this is clear today's first reading from  Zechariah. God once had a whole nation of people worshiping him, praising him. Now that they've lived through exile, they are a different people. Still, God remains faithful, and perhaps hopeful, that the holy city will once again thrive in matters of faith.

 In today's Gospel, we get the other kind of jealousy, this time from the Apostles! (Don't be too surprised! Those poor guys are constantly falling short of being great disciples of the Lord! We should take inspiration from that: If those men who followed Jesus day and night fell as much as they did, how much more will we fall! And yet, how much more will we be redeemed by God's deep love for us in the end!). Indeed, not only are they trying to compete for who will be the greatest, but then they get threatened by some other guy who is driving away demons, taking away the spotlight from Jesus.  Thankfully, they had, as we do, a very loving teacher who was willing to put up with their idiosyncrasies in order to teach them about this new way of life they were being called to in the great Kingdom of God on earth!  It's a call we all have even today, and that through the power of the Spirit, we get to live on a daily basis!

Zechariah 8: 1 - 8

1And the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying,
2"Thus says the LORD of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath.
3Thus says the LORD: I will return to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts, the holy mountain.
4Thus says the LORD of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand for very age.
5And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.
6Thus says the LORD of hosts: If it is marvelous in the sight of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvelous in my sight, says the LORD of hosts?
7Thus says the LORD of hosts: Behold, I will save my people from the east country and from the west country;

Psalms 102: 16 - 21, 29, 22 - 23

16For the LORD will build up Zion, he will appear in his glory;
17he will regard the prayer of the destitute, and will not despise their supplication.
18Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet unborn may praise the LORD:
19that he looked down from his holy height, from heaven the LORD looked at the earth,
20to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die;
21that men may declare in Zion the name of the LORD, and in Jerusalem his praise,
22when peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the LORD.
23He has broken my strength in mid-course; he has shortened my days

Luke 9: 46 - 50

46And an argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest.
47But when Jesus perceived the thought of their hearts, he took a child and put him by his side,
48and said to them, "Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me; for he who is least among you all is the one who is great."
49John answered, "Master, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he does not follow with us."
50But Jesus said to him, "Do not forbid him; for he that is not against you is for you."

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