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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 Gates are Opened

The story of Jesus appearing to two men on the road to Emmaus is one of the most famous of our resurrection accounts (see Luke 24:13-35). The last phrase, “. . . they had come to know him in the breaking of the bread,” speaks to us about how we encounter the risen Lord in our Eucharist. The Eucharist is Christ’s living legacy to us. No matter what age it might be, he does not abandon us. After his ascension, the Lord continues to abide in his early disciples as well. He sends them his Spirit and works his ministry through them.

We see one incident of this in Acts 3:1-10. Peter and John are going up to the temple to pray. Outside the edifice, at the temple gate, is a beggar who for years has been at the practice of begging from those who come to worship. It is interesting that he is outside the temple because as a cripple he is also outside the hearts and lives of many of his own people. He is tolerated, but looked down upon. He must beg for his sustenance. He is a man whose dignity has been tarnished by a situation beyond his control. Peter is poor in worldly riches; but, he has already begun to save up for himself treasure from heaven. He possesses Christ and he gives Christ. In the name of Jesus, he heals the crippled man and orders him to walk. In that single incident, the poor man’s dignity is restored. He would no longer be a castoff from society. He is whole again. This is the meaning of Easter. We may be weighed down by our sins, be of ill health, be lonely, or sad; and yet, Jesus offers us healing and forgiveness. We had cut ourselves off from God and from his friends by our rebellion; now we can be reconciled and aliens no longer. Our shame from the primordial rebellion is no longer imputed against us and our hearts can be turned around — making Christ our greatest treasure — living only to serve and love God.

Notice what the first act of the lame man is once he is healed. No longer merely at the gate of the temple, he walks inside the temple with them. Through the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ, the gates of our heavenly Jerusalem are now open to us. May we be filled with the same joy as this healed lame man, entering heaven by “walking, jumping about, and praising God.”

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

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