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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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The Doctrine on the Trinity

God makes himself known, as a Trinity, in the revelatory message of Jesus Christ. This truth is not simply academic, but relational. Despite our unworthiness, the eternal Son of God offers his Father to us as “our” Father. In contrast to the Cosmic Watchmaker of philosophical Deists, the Judeo-Christian God called a people to himself and established covenants with them. The same Spirit that hovered over the waters of creation would overshadow a Virgin in Nazareth and bring forth forgiveness, healing, and life in the ministry and life of Christ. God delivered his people from political oppression and slavery. He gave them both the Prophets and his Law. Finally, he gave them his Son. Ours is a God who never forgets us. This abiding reality is most forcibly expressed in the saving mission of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. He is sent into the world as one of us. He comes to rescue us from the sin and death, which was of our own making. God the Creator offers us the opportunity of a re-creation and of a new life in Christ.

God is the Father of us all. He calls us into union with him. He is the Supreme Being, infinitely perfect, and the maker of all things, keeping them in existence. Created things reflect the glory of God, their Creator. As the source of all goodness, God willed certain things into existence so that they might enjoy his benefits and participate in his goodness. His infinite power brought all things out of nothingness into being and he keeps them in being. Otherwise, and it is against the divine economy, they would sink once more into nothingness. Above all creatures, he is self-existing; indeed, he is existence, itself. He is an infinitely perfect Spirit. All perfections find their eminent degree in him. All the goodness, beauty, truth, and power we appreciate in created things are but the merest shadows of the perfections found in their source, almighty God.

God is revealed through the laws of nature and, in a more personal way, through his revelation as assembled in God’s Word. Because of the limitations of human knowledge, many of the ways we know and speak about God are through analogies and stories. God identifies himself with Truth and with Love. He is all-good. He is mercy itself and ever forgiving. His is all-knowing. He is just. He is without limit. He is perfect and therefore, unchangeable. He is omnipotent (all-powerful) and present everywhere. He has no need of anything or anyone outside of himself. He creates freely, to give glory to himself, to share his life with his creatures, and to have them return thanks and praise to him. While there is ONE God, his identity is Triune: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These three Persons of the Trinity are not “persons” in the sense of contemporary usage dealing with psychology. Rather, it implies a sort of divine dynamism wherein there are three mysterious interlocked equal cores of God’s identity. The Scriptures never use the word “Trinity,” but the doctrine resonates there clearly in the New Testament.

Jesus calls upon God as Father. Jesus does the things that only God can do, like forgiving sins and making atonement. The Holy Spirit is experienced as God, giving life to the community just as he breathed life back into the crucified Christ. The Lord gives the command to go out to all nations and to baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Baptism in the name of a creature would be meaningless, thus all three Persons constitute the one God of faith.

We give thanks and glory to God in response to his gift of creation and the act of re-creation wrought by his Son through the power of the Holy Spirit. A sin offering had to be made and only one who was sinless could offer it. It is the teaching of the Church that the Lord’s human origin was the work of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Jesus’ conception, unlike our own, is the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit and is untouched by original sin. The Holy Spirit can directly create nothing sinful. Further, the fact that Jesus is God would make the presence of sin an inner contradiction. Jesus is viewed in the incarnation as the eternal Son of God born in the flesh of Mary. This revelation of Christ’s identity is derived from a comprehensive look at the details of the Gospels. The early centuries of the Church was a pivotal time for debate and reflection where a precise appreciation of Christ’s identity emerged under the light of God’s guiding Spirit. A formula was issued which still applies today: Jesus is one divine Person, existing fully in two natures, divine and human.

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