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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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Reconciliation with God & Man

A central theme of Christianity is reconciliation with our neighbor and with God. In Matthew 5:20-26, Christ exhorts us to nurture a holiness which goes beyond external appearances and which emanates essentially from within. Our hearts need to be forgiving and willing to accept forgiveness. Our minds need to elevate good thoughts about our brothers and sisters, and not be centered upon how we might get even with those who hurt us. This is what Christ would do for us who murdered him by our sins. Instead of utterly destroying us with thunderbolt and fire, he offers us a share in his victory over death. He died, loving and forgiving his murderers. When we come together to celebrate this great gift offered by Christ, the Lord desires us to respond in kind. He says, “If you bring your gift to the altar and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift at the altar, go first to be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24). With the bread and wine which comes up to the altar, we have to offer ourselves for transformation, so that Christ may live more fully in us. This is the essential meaning behind the sign of peace. This becomes even more essential when we recognize that Christ identifies himself with the persons in our lives whom we least love. Here is the kind of love which grants blessings upon another and not curses, even when we find it difficult to like someone. It is this kind of love which is quick to forgive and which makes one willing to admit his or her sinfulness, and need for forgiveness. The Old Testament was not silent about such a disposition. Ezekiel 18:21-28 challenges us to forgive as God forgives. Ezekiel said, “None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him; he shall live because of the virtue he has practiced.” When God forgives, it is as if he forgets. We are made as white as snow. For this reason, let us forgive as God forgives, without resentment and backstabbing. Let us forgive ourselves, recognizing that we have no right to hold bound what Christ in the Church has loosed.

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

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