3 - 4 minutes readSermon of St. Jerome for Wednesday of the 3rd Week of Lent: Commandments of God vs Traditions of Men

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Homily by St. Jerome, Priest at Bethlehem

Bk. ii Comm. on Matth. xv

The stupidity of the Pharisees and Scribes is something extraordinary. They rebuke the Son of God because He doth not observe the traditions and commandments of men for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. It behoveth us to cleanse, not the hands of the body, but the hands of the soul, namely, our works, that we may do the commandments of God. But He answered and said unto them Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? He meeteth here their false accusation by a true. “How,” saith He, “do ye, who pass over the commandments of God, in order to keep to the traditions of men, hold that My disciples are to be rebuked, because they deem the tradition of the elders of little moment in comparison with the doing of what they know to be the Laws of God?”

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæu;m. Sequel of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
Cap. XV. Ch. XV.
In illo tempore: Accesserunt ad Jesum ab Jerosolymis Scribæ et Pharisæi, dicentes: Quare discipuli tui transgrediuntur traditionem seniorum? non enim lavant manus suas cum panem manducant. Ipse autem respondens, ait illis: Quare et vos transgredimini mandatum Dei propter traditionem vestram? Nam Deus dixit: Honora patrem et matrem. Et: Qui maledixerit patri vel matri, morte moriatur. Vos autem dicitis: Quicumque dixerit patri vel matri: Munus quodcumque est ex me tibi proderit: et non honorificabit patrem suum aut matrem suam: et irritum fecistis mandatum Dei, propter traditionem vestram. Hypocritæ, bene prophetavit de vobis Isaias, dicens: Populus hic labiis me honorat: cor autem eorum longe est a me. Sine causa autem colunt me, docentes doctrinas et mandata hominum. Et convocatis ad se turbis, dixit eis: audite, et intelligite. Non quod intrat in os, coinquinat hominem: sed quod procedit ex ore, hoc coinquinat hominem. Tunc accedentes discipuli ejus, dixerunt ei: Scis quia Pharisæi, audito verbo hoc, scandalizati sunt? At ille respondens, ait: Omnis plantatio quam non plantavit Pater meus cœlestis, eradicabitur. Sinite illos: cæci sunt, et duces cæcorum. Cæcus autem si cæco ducatum præstet, ambo in foveam cadunt. Respondens autem Petrus, dixit ei: Edissere nobis parabolam istam. At ille dixit: Adhuc et vos sine intellectu estis? Non intelligitis quia omne quod in os intrat, in ventrem vadit, et in secessum emittitur? Quæ autem procedunt de ore, de corde exeunt et ea coinquinant hominem: de corde enim exeunt cogitatione malæ, homicidia, adulteria, fornicationes, furta, falsa testimonia, blasphemiæ. Hæc sunt quæ coinquinant hominem. Non lotis autem manibus manducare, non coinquinat hominem. At that time: The Scribes and Pharisees came from Jerusalem to Jesus, and saying to him: Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the ancients? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answering, said to them: Why do you also transgress the commandment of God for your tradition? For God said: “Honor thy father and mother:” and “He that shall curse father or mother, let him die the death.” But you say: Whosoever shall say to his father or mother, The gift whatsoever proceedeth from me, shall profit thee; and he shall not honor his father or mother, and you have made void the commandment of God for your tradition. Hypocrites, well has Isaias prophesied of you, saying: “This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines and commandments of men.” And having called together the multitudes unto him, he said to them: Hear ye and understand. Not that which goeth into the mouth, defileth a man; but what cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said to him: Dost thou know that the Pharisees, when they heard this word, were scandalized? But he answering, said: Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind, and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit. And Peter answering, said to him: Expound to us this parable. But he said: Are you also yet without understanding? Do you not understand, that whatsoever entereth into the mouth, goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the privy? But the things which proceed out of the mouth, come forth from the heart, and those things defile a man. For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man. But to eat with unwashed hands, doth not defile a man.

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