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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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Hold Fast to God

“Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the Lord, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20). These words when offered to the People of God by Moses were an encouragement to follow the commandments, and thus to seek God’s blessing and not his curse. So often this translated into the naive understanding that if one were good, only good things would enter one’s life. However, in the book of Job and then in the life of Jesus himself, we become well aware that sometimes suffering and even death can inflict the very best of people. The Christian appreciation of this text is very deep. Like a child trusting utterly in his or her parent, we are to rely upon and to be faithful to God — no matter what. Jesus lived out this passage, because as ironic as it might seem, by allowing himself to be betrayed, mocked, tortured, and murdered — he was choosing life for us. Now, in response to his sacrifice, we too have to open ourselves to a share in this life — a life which will ultimately be beyond the reach of pain and death. Notice what the Scripture said, we are to love God, heed his voice, and cling fast to him. We are to hold on so tight that no storm of sin and weakness can drive us away from him. This will require that our love for him always be fused with obedience, just as Christ was obedient unto the Cross. The secret is not to give up on God even when the times become difficult. What is more, we need desperately to find the peace and joy which comes with perfect discipleship in this life, despite the cost, loving God entirely for his own sake.

In our tradition we often recall the Cyrenian who reluctantly was forced to help Jesus carry his Cross up to Calvary. Do we hesitate? Do we despair and give up? Do we run away from our responsibilities? Jesus did not. (see Luke 9:22-25). May we be so filled with the love of God, and therefore deny our very selves, that we may pick up our crosses willingly in traveling in the footsteps of Christ.

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

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