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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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Same-Sex Marriage or Adoption Services

The Archdiocese of Washington has been forced to follow the path of Boston in terminating (or in this case transferring) its foster care and adoption services. I have dear friends who received their boy and girl through Catholic Charities. It was always an impetus of the Church to insure that the children went to good, wholesome and loving homes of faith. The District of Columbia City Council refused to refer the matter to a public referendum and denied religious exemptions to the new same-sex marriage law. Gay advocates will no doubt argue that the Church is abandoning the poor. The truth is that the Church was forced out of a valuable service to children and potential parents by the city government. Our services and personnel are being handed over to the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) which has roots in the Baptist Church. How is it that they can do what we cannot? Does this mean that children for whom we formerly cared are now vulnerable to adoption by homosexuals?

Here is a portion of the press release from the Archdiocese:

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington transitioned its foster care and public adoption program in the District of Columbia to the National Center for Children and Families (NCCF) on February 1, 2010. Catholic Charities remains committed to continuing to serve the vulnerable of the District of Columbia through the 82 programs the agency operates in the region.

Although Catholic Charities has an 80-year legacy of high quality service to the vulnerable in our nation’s capital, the D.C. Government informed Catholic Charities that the agency would be ineligible to serve as a foster care provider due to the impending D.C. same sex marriage law.

This is the only program Catholic Charities anticipates will be impacted by the law.

The Archdiocese had a choice to make, collaborate with sin or remain steadfast behind the moral teachings of the Catholic faith. It is a sad day. Our adoption services was a wonderful complement to our pro-life efforts. It demonstrated that we were both about saving the child in the womb and about helping children already born and potential parents to find each other. Where there was once a partnership between the City and the Church; the City government has now chosen to create an adversarial relationship.

Suffering Servant and Powerful Lord

Isaiah 50:4-7 gives us a few lines about the suffering servant. This prophecy is directly connected to Christ. “I gave my back to those who beat me . . . My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.” Our Lord has his flesh torn by scourging. He was mocked and spat upon. His own condemned him as a criminal and betrayed him. The selection concludes, “I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame.” Jesus remained faithful to his Father to the last. His Father would restore him to life by the power of the Holy Spirit, and yet it was also by his own authority. The resurrection would overturn the false verdict and condemnation of sinful men.

Psalm 22 quoted by our Lord showed the depth of his agony, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (verse 2). And yet the psalm moves toward renewed conviction. Here the psalm parallels our Lord’s passion. “All who see me scoff at me . . . They have pierced my hands and feet . . . They divide my garments among them and for my vesture they cast lots” (verses 8, 17, 19). The psalm citation is fully realized. “I will proclaim your name to my brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise you: ‘You who fear the Lord, praise him; all you descendants of Jacob, give glory to him’” (verses 23-24). Since the psalm obviously refers to crucifixion, what can these words mean? There can be no doubt; they point to the resurrection. Our Lord would appear before his apostles in the Upper Room and they would give praise. More than this, we are the spiritual descendants of the apostles. The resurrected Christ is with us in the assembly of faith and makes possible our prayerful praise and glory to God at Mass.

Now, the emphasis is upon our witness and how the mystery of Christ changes us. Look at Philippians 2:6-11. It is literally a faith profession in Christ. God has come to save his people in Jesus Christ. The name of Jesus invokes saving power and mercy. He has redeemed us from the devil. We are his property. We belong to him.

For more such reflections, contact me about getting my book, CHRISTIAN REFLECTIONS.