Friday, September 30, 2016

Memorial of Saint Jerome, priest and doctor of the Church

(Job 38:1.12-21.40:3-5; Luke 10:13-16)

St. Jerome is sometimes pictured with a lion.  Some people opine that Jerome befriended lions, but that is not so.  Jerome was a lion.  He unreservedly criticized supposed heretics like Pelagius.  His critique of adversaries was both harsh and heady.  It could be compared to Jesus’ in today’s gospel.

Jesus has given up on three of the towns where his disciples have just preached.  In rejecting his disciples, Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum have rejected not only Jesus but God the Father.  Jesus denounces their obtuseness.  Capernaum might be known for its fish and Bethsaida for its green grass, but now their fame is negative.  They are places known for refusing the message of God’s ineffable love.

We may wonder about the virtue of expressing anger like Jerome and Jesus.  Anger is considered a vice when it leads to violence.  Therefore, we must take care not to get carried away when injustice or untruth gives rise to hard feelings.  However, to call an evil by its name when we are sure of what it is, is likely the work of virtuous courage.