THE LETTER OF ST. JUDE

Raphael of Urbino, Italy - Michael the Archangel, Musee du Louvre, Paris, 1518.


The Letter of Jude is the final of seven catholic or universal letters of the New Testament of the Bible, along with James, the First and Second Letters of Peter, and the First, Second, and Third Letters of John. These letters are so called because they are addressed to the universal Church in general, and not to a specific community, as, for example, St. Paul to the Philippians. The Book of Jude is followed by the Book of Revelation, the final book of the New Testament of the Bible.

Tradition tells us this letter was written by St. Jude Thaddeus, one of the twelve Apostles and the brother of St. James the Less. The time of writing is unknown.

The letter is most relevant to modern times, for it reminds one of "new age" philosophy. Jude takes issue with false teachers who claim that a Christian's freedom means he is free from moral obligation. This letter urges believers to be faithful to the moral teachings of the Gospel!

This letter is mysterious and unique in several ways. The letter of St. Jude is the only one in the Bible that refers to Michael (verse 9) being an Archangel. There is similarity between Jude and the Second Letter of Peter 2:1-18 on false teachers. Two apocryphal Hebrew works are quoted, the Assumption of Moses (verse 9) and the Book of Enoch (verses 14-15). And Jude 13 relates a phenomenon that is often described by those patients with near-death experiences following anesthesia: "They are like wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shameless deeds, wandering stars for whom the gloom of darkness has been reserved forever" (NAB). The letter concludes with a comforting word on the mercy of Our Lord: "keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life."

The following Scripture is from the Douay-Rheims Bible, now in the public domain. The Douay-Rheims Bible was the standard English Bible for Catholics for over 300 years, and still remains in use today. The Douay-Rheims Bible was the first approved English translation of St. Jerome's Latin Vulgate Bible. The Old Testament translation was completed at the English College of Douai, France in 1609, and the New Testament at the English College of Rheims, France in 1582. The Douay-Rheims Bible was revised by Bishop Challoner in England from 1749 to 1752. The Haydock Douay-Rheims Bible of 1814 was the one upon which President John F. Kennedy took the oath of office on January 20, 1961 to become the 35th President of the United States.



THE LETTER OF ST. JUDE


Greeting

1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James: to them that are beloved in God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ and called. 2 Mercy unto you and peace: and charity be fulfilled.

His Reason for Writing

3 Dearly beloved, taking all care to write unto you concerning your common salvation, I was under a necessity to write unto you: to beseech you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.

False Teachers and Their Punishment

4 For certain men are secretly entered in (who were written of long ago unto this judgment), ungodly men, turning the grace of our Lord God into riotousness and denying the only sovereign Ruler and our Lord Jesus Christ. 5 I will therefore admonish you, though ye once knew all things, that Jesus, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, did afterwards destroy them that believed not. 6 And the angels who kept not their principality but forsook their own habitation, he hath reserved under darkness in everlasting chains, unto the judgment of the great day. 7 As Sodom and Gomorrha, and the neighbouring cities, in like manner, having given themselves to fornication, and going after other flesh, were made an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire. 8 In like manner these men also defile the flesh, and despise dominion, and blaspheme majesty.

9 When Michael the archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses, he durst not bring against him the judgment of railing speech, but said: The Lord command thee. 10 But these men blaspheme whatever things they know not: and what things soever they naturally know, like dumb beasts, in these they are corrupted.

11 Woe unto them, for they have gone in the way of Cain: and after the error of Balaam they have for reward poured out themselves, and have perished in the contradiction of Core. 12 These are spots in their banquets, feasting together without fear, feeding themselves, clouds without water, which are carried about by winds, trees of the autumn, unfruitful, twice dead, plucked up by the roots, 13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own confusion; wandering stars, to whom the storm of darkness is reserved for ever.


God's Judgement

14 Now of these Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying: Behold, the Lord cometh with thousands of his saints: 15 To execute judgment upon all and to reprove all the ungodly for all the works of their ungodliness, whereby they have done ungodly: and for all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against God. 16 These are murmurers, full of complaints, walking according to their own desires: and their mouth speaketh proud things, admiring persons, for gain's sake. 17 But you, my dearly beloved, be mindful of the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: 18 Who told you that in the last time there should come mockers, walking according to their own desires in ungodlinesses. 19 These are they who separate themselves, sensual men, having not the Spirit.

Faith, Hope and Charity

20 But you, my beloved, building yourselves upon your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto life everlasting. 22 And some indeed reprove, being judged: 23 But others save, pulling them out of the fire. And on others have mercy, in fear, hating also the spotted garment which is carnal.

Doxology

24 Now to him who is able to preserve you without sin and to present you spotless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 25 To the only God our Saviour through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory and magnificence, empire and power, before all ages, and now, and for all ages of ages. Amen.


THE BIBLE