It seems like St. Jerome had much in common with the disciples of today’s Gospel reading. Jerome, rather unfortunately, was known for his quick temper and sometimes mean-spirited pen. If they had email in those days, he’d be the one to fire off a quick nastygram without even taking time to think about it. We all have our issues to deal with, unfortunately.
But we need to be extremely thankful for St. Jerome as we open up the Scriptures today. Without his tireless efforts, our understanding of Sacred Scripture would be quite limited, I think. It was St. Jerome who spent so much time translating the Scriptures from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, creating what was know as the Vulgate translation. This was the standard text of the Scriptures for a long time in the Church, and is still an important basis for today’s vernacular translations. His commentaries on the Scriptures are important to us to this very day.
Jerome was a pre-eminent scholar. He studied the Scriptures all the time and was an expert in Biblical languages including Hebrew, Greek, Chaldaic and of course Latin. He also spent a good deal of time in the Holy Land, walking the path of Christ, staying in the places where he stayed, even living for a time in the cave believed to have been Jesus’ birthplace. He wasn’t just a scholar studying the Scriptures from a theoretical viewpoint; he was instead devoted to the Scriptures, pouring through them with love.
For those of you who are part of our CREEDS Bible Study, today is a Patronal feast day for you. St. Jerome’s love of Scripture has made it possible for all of us to come to know Christ in a more intimate way through our own study and devotion to the Word of God. In honor of his feast, I will leave us all with the advice of one of my seminary professors. Be certain to read some Scripture every day, even if it’s just a few verses before you turn off the lamp at night. If you do that, on your last day on earth, you’ll close your eyes and be able to open them up in heaven and know exactly where you are. Scripture gives us that intimate relationship with our God. St. Jerome, pray for us, and lead us back to the Scriptures with the same love and devotion you had.