Monday, September 30, 2019

Monday of the Twenty-Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Jerome, Doctor of the Church (340-420)

Readings of the Day
RB: Ch 7:31-33
Mass: Zech 8:1-8; Resp Ps 102; Lk 9:46-50

The nations shall revere your name, O Lord, and all the kings of the earth your glory.

A few jumbled thoughts for today ...

Last Friday, just before Jesus predicted his passion for the second time, he told the disciples to pay attention to what he was saying. They didn't understand and became afraid. It didn't take long for the disciples to begin arguing, as we learn in today's Gospel. The disciples were busy wondering which of them was the greatest. It's not a bad place to be immersed as we are in St Benedict's chapter on humility then. Benedict begins this way: "Divine Scripture calls to us say: Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted (Lk 14:11; 18:14)" (RB 7:1). We might keep this in mind and heart when reflecting upon Jesus' response to the disciples' bickering: The one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest (Lk 9:48). Jesus realizes the intentions of all our hearts. We pray for understanding and growth in humility.

At morning prayer we had a proclamation from St Jerome that fits today's passage from the Holy Rule. This is attributed to St Jerome: "The person whose will is in the law of God, wills what God wills, and ardently desires to accomplish the will of God." Benedict has this to say about the second step of humility: "The second step of humility is that a man loves not his own will nor takes pleasure in the satisfaction of his desires; rather he shall imitate by his actions that saying of the Lord: I have come not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me (Jn 6:38)" (RB 7:31-32). We go back to today's Gospel where Jesus, placing a child by his side says: "Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me" (Lk 9:48). Who is the greatest then? Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Mt 18:4).

And news from the Vatican this day. It is not by accident that Pope Francis issued the Apostolic Letter, Motu proprio (on his own initiative) Aperit illis as we celebrate St Jerome. It is St Jerome who wrote in his commentary on Isaiah: "If the one who does not know Scripture does not know the power and wisdom of God, then ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." Aperit illis translated is the opening line of the letter: He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures (Lk 24:25). In the letter, the Holy Father designates the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time to be "devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God."

Living and true God, help us to pay attention and open our minds and hearts so that we receive and better understand your Word. 


© Gertrude Feick 2019

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