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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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A Greater Than Jonah Here

 

In Jonah 3:1-10, the prophet Jonah came to Nineveh with the warning that lest they turned away from their sinful ways, the city would be destroyed. So struck with fear were they at the impending doom in forty days that the king declared that man and beast alike would be covered in sackcloth and ashes. Perhaps, just perhaps, God would relent and forgive them? Sure enough God did preserve them from destruction. Luke 11:29-32 revealed a far more serious kind of impending doom. In the former, mere physical life and property were threatened; now spiritual life was at risk and the loss of the greatest treasure possible, Christ himself. The people around Jesus sought a sign, being blind to the significance of this new prophet who healed the sick and who forgave sins. Jesus said quite explicitly, “For at the preaching of Jonah they reformed, but you have a greater than Jonah here.”

What does this incident say to us? It dictates that Jesus makes all the difference, even for those who do not clearly know him for who he really is — God come among us as one of us. Not deserving such an honor, our only response is one of humility, repentance, and praise. Because he makes a difference, this reality must be reflected in our lives. Because he makes all the difference, we cannot hesitate to proclaim the Good News to non-Christians and to those who have lost track of Christ somewhere upon their paths in life. We must not be ashamed of him or try to explain away his significance. Because of him, nothing shall ever be the same again. If we have a greater than Jonah here, then why do we sometimes hide him? Why are we not quicker and more resolved in turning around our lives so that Christ may live more fully in us?

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

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