Saint Jerome – Homily on Psalm 1, 5-6

The Homilies of Saint Jerome


St.Jerome.1Since we have already discussed at length the just man and his likeness to the tree, also the wicked man and his likeness, and have talked about the present world, it remains for us to meditate on the future life and on eternity. „Therefore in judgment the wicked shall not Stand, nor shall sinners, in the assembly of the just” In the Gospel according to John, we read: „He who believes in me is not judged; but he who does not believe in me is already judged.” Who is left to be judged if both he who believes will not be judged and he who does not believe is already judged? Who will be judged on the day of judgment?

Let us reflect upon the one who stands between the believer and the non-believer, the one that is to be judged. He who believes will not be judged. Now he who believes does not sin: he who believes according to truth does not sin; he who has true Faith does not sin. Actually, when we commit sin, it is because our mind is wavering in faith. When we are giving way to anger, when we are detracting from the reputation of another, when we are committing murder, when we arc yield­ing to fornication, just where is our faith? Hence, the words: „He who believes in me will not be judged”; there is no need to judge him, he is already blessed. Further, he who does not believe is already judged; he has already been judged unto punishment. Who therefore, is to be judged? The one who indeed believes and yet yields to sin; he who has goodness, but has evil too: he who performs good acts at the time when he believes, but commits sin when his faith is weak.

Let us at this point consider the meaning of the words; „Therefore in judgment the wicked shall not stand” They shall not rise to be judged because they have already been judged, for „he who does not believe in Me is already judged”. „Nor shall sinners in the assembly of the just” It does not say that sinners shall not rise again; but that they shall not stand in the assembly of the just; they do not deserve to stand with those who are not to be judged. If they believed in Me, says the Lord, they would rise up with those who do not have to be judged.

„For the Lord knows the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes” „For the Lord knows the way of the just” Why is it so extraordinary that the Lord knows the way of the just? The Scriptures also say that God knows those whom He deigns to know. In regard to the wicked, it says: „I never knew you. Depart from me, you workers of iniquity” More­over, the Apostle says: „If anyone acknowledges the Lord, the Lord will acknowledge him” „For the Lord knows the way of the just” The Lord does not know the sinner, but the just man He does know.

We read in Genesis that when Adam transgressed, when he paid heed to the serpent rather than to God, when he hid himself from the face of God, God came into die Garden and was walking about in the cool of day. Now listen to what the Scripture says. God sought out Adam, not at midday but in the evening. Adam had already lost the sunlight, for his high noon was over. It was toward evening-deilinon-and God was walking about; for as far as the sinner is concerned, God is not standing, but is walking. He knew that Adam was in the Garden and He was well aware of what had happened, hut because Adam had sinned, God knew him not. And God said: „Adam, where are you?”

We have heard enough on how God does not know the sinner, so we ought to consider now how the just man is known by Him. God said to Abraham: „Leave your country, your kinsfolk” Abraham accordingly came into Palestine; he was in Abramiri; he sojourned a long time in Gerara. When his son Isaac was born, he had received the promise: „In your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed” Me took Isaac and offered him to God, and a voice from heaven was heard to say: Spare thy son. Straightway, at the very moment that he offered his son, what does God say to Abraham? „I know now that you fear the Lord, your God” Have you just now known Abraham, Lord, with whom You have communicated for such a long time? Because Abraham had such great faith in sacrificing his own son, on that account God first began to know him. Why have we said all this? Because it is written: „For the Lord knows the way of the just” Let us put it another way: The way, the life, and the truth is Christ; let us walk, therefore, in Christ and then God the Father will know our way.

„But the way of the wicked vanishes” That does not mean that the wicked will perish. If they repent and do penance, they too will be saved. When the Apostle Paul was persecuting Christ and His Church, he was wicked. If the wicked perish, there is no chance for their repentance. It does not say that the wicked shall perish, but that the way of the wicked vanishes, that is, wickedness shall perish. Not the wicked, but wickedness itself; not the man who was wicked will perish, but while he is repenting, wickedness vanishes.

God vouchsafes to instruct us that there are three things we must not do, and two things that we must do. Let us he the just man compared to the tree of life; let us not be the wicked who are compared to dust; let us not be sinners, for dinners shall not stand in the assembly of the just. Let us take heed that the path of evil may vanish; and let us bless God to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

~ de Petre pe ianuarie 19, 2009.

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