Memorial of St. Jerome, priest and doctor of the Church
(Zechariah 8:1-4; Luke 9:46-50)
Today Jews around the world celebrate one of their high holydays. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, prepares the people for the Day of Judgment. Already for thirty days the shofar horn has been blown to wake sinners from slumber. Now three books are opened: the book lf life for the righteous, the book of death for evil people who will die, and the book for those with doubts but non-mortal sins. Today’s first reading reveals another important element of Jewish belief which Christians also maintain.
In the reading from the prophet Zechariah God claims to be jealous of His people. He does not want to see them abandon Him for idols. To keep them for Himself God promises to bring the people back from exile. God also pledges to rejuvenate the ruined city of Jerusalem for them. He will set in the streets old people returning from exile with children playing around them. More than jealousy, the passage conveys God’s tender love.
God loves the Jewish people foremost because His Son was to be born among them. He had prepared them to provide Jesus a homeland by giving the Law and the prophets to interpret it. Jesus refined that Law and handed it to us, who have become a second “People of God.” God loves us as much and promises to settle us in the “New Jerusalem” of eternal life.