Saint Jerome – Homily on Psalm 83

The Homilies of Saint Jerome


St. Jerome„Unto the end, for the wine presses. A psalm of the sons of Core” There are three psalms with the phrase, „for the wine presses” as part of their title: the eighth, the eightieth, and the eighty-third. The eighth is superscribed with David’s name, the eightieth with the name of Asaph, and the eighty-third with the sons of Core. I am going to give you a rule whereby you may know what to look for in Scripture. Any psalm that has the sons of Core in its title will always be joyful without any note of sadness. Whereas Core, and Dathan, and Abiram were punished by the Lord for their revolt against Moses, the sons of Core, who did not rebel with their father, were blessed with eternal joy. Further, since the name of Core means Calvary (for skull) and obviously symbolizes the place of the Resurrection, whoever is a son or Core is a son of the Resurrection, A son of the Resurrection, moreover, can never be sorrowful.

„How lovely are your tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord.” Shortly after this verse, the psalmist cries: „Happy they who dwell in your house!” Note that there is a triad of dwelling places: tents, courts, and last of all, houses. „How lovely are your tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!” What are these tabernacles? Let us turn to the Gospel and see if it offers a clue to their identification. The Lord is speaking and says: „Make for yourselves friends with the mammon of wickedness, so that when it fails they may receive you into the everlasting dwell­ings” When what fails? The mammon of wickedness. Then those friends will welcome you into everlasting dwellings. Mark well that the mammon of wickedness fails in this world; nevertheless, be aware dial this mammon of iniquity provides a man with alms and prepares beforehand reward or penalty. In the Hebrew language „mammon” is the term for wealth, not gold, as some people think, „With the mammon of wickedness,” Much truth there is indeed, in a certain saying of a philosopher: „Every rich man is either wicked or the heir of wickedness” That is why the Lord and Savior says that it is difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Someone may raise me objection: „How, then, did the wealthy Zachaeus enter the kingdom of heaven?” He gave away his wealth and replaced it at once with the riches of die heavenly kingdom. The Lord and Savior did not say that the rich will not enter the kingdom of heaven, but that they will enter with difficulty.

„How lovely are your tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!” The sole ambition of some people is to possess property; others long to be enriched with the wealth of the world; still others wish to hold prominent places at conventions and be esteemed among men. But for me, there is only one longing: to see Your eternal dwelling places. To me, those are the lovely dwelling places where the virtuous and not the vicious congre­gate. „My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord.” This is my one desire, this my only love, that I may see Your courts. Notice the order. First, he longs for die taber­nacles, tents without a foundation and easily portable. A tent, moreover, is always on the move, folded up and carried hither and thither. Courts, on the other hand, although certainly not houses, do have a kind of foundation, and from the court we enter die house. Our psalmist, therefore, at first longs for a tabernacle, and then afterwards pines and yearns with love to see Your courts; and when he is in Your court, then he cries out: „Happy they who dwell in your house!”

~ de Petre pe martie 23, 2009.

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