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The Word, The Truth

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Homily for Friday of the 27th Week in Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, 30 September 2022, Lk 10:13-16

What is the difference between a WISE PERSON and a LEARNED ONE? Well, the LEARNED person is one who knows so much. A WISE person is one who knows that the more he knows, the more he discovers how little he knows. Our readings today make us aware of this distinction between being wise and being learned.

In our first reading, Job is overwhelmed by God’s response to his laments, and his answer to God is, “I will put my hand over my mouth.” It’s the more ancient version of saying “Me and my big mouth!” What Job is saying is, “From here on, I will restrain myself from speaking to soon, or too haphazardly about things I do not know. Otherwise, I might end up saying stupid things.

This is what people are moved to say when they are awed, when they are overcome by a sense of wonder, when they are overwhelmed by a sense of mystery. They realize that in such circumstances, the best thing to do is not to speak but to shut up, to be silent.



Our responsorial Psalm, which is from Ps 139, is saying the same thing. The Psalmist seems to realize how arrogant it is to say “I know God.” That when I think of what I know about God, I realize that what I know is like a cupful of seawater drawn from a vast ocean. Remember how St. Augustine himself realized this when he was trying to crack his head on the mystery of the Holy Trinity or trying to capture it in a few words? How the Lord appeared to him as a little boy playing on the seashore, drawing with his hands a cupful of seawater and running quickly to put it in a little hole in the sand on the seashore? And how he ridiculed the boy about it saying, “How can you put all the water of the vast ocean into your little hole, my child?” Only to be told by the child, “But aren’t you doing exactly the same thing?”

What the Psalmist is saying to himself in the Psalm is this, “Just when I think I know God, I realize it is the other way around: God knows me. He knows when I sit and when I stand; he knows my thoughts from afar. I cannot escape him wherever I go, whether in heaven above or on earth below, or under the earth, or even deep within myself. I realize how wonderfully he has made me and the rest of creation.

In the Gospel, you might be wondering why such towns as Capernaum and Bethsaida are being cursed, if you know that these are the places where Jesus circulated most often and where he was heard by people almost everyday. Well, that’s precisely it; they got so used to him, they took him for granted because they thought they’ve heard him already, there was nothing new anymore in what he was saying.

The most dangerous kind of attitude is that which says, “Been there, nothing new, heard it all, know it all.” It is the attitude of learned who are filled with hubris or arrogance, they lose their sense of awe and wonder and in effect stop knowing and become stupid in their learning.

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Veritas Editorial

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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