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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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Demonstration of Faith

The mission to bring the Good News of God transcended the rules of a society which were often unjust. At the Council of Jerusalem, Peter sided with Paul in that circumcision would not be required of Gentile men who converted. This legislation also had much to offer women. In the order of grace they would be equal to men in dignity. Baptism would be the great rite of initiation for all. Jesus in his own ministry did not hesitate to speak and deal with women, even when there were taboos against doing so. He spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well. He allowed himself to be anointed by the sinner woman. Although he had nothing, there were holy women who followed and supported him from their purses. He spoke with Martha and Mary as friends, dealing with them on the level of true disciples.

In Acts 16:11-15, Paul is seeking a place to pray. At the bank of a river they find several women and speak to them. However, listen to what the Scriptures have to say about one of them: “One who listened was a woman named Lydia, . . . She already reverenced God, and the Lord opened her heart to accept what Paul was saying.” The message of Christ was offered to many, but unlike Lydia, they heard without listening. Like Paul himself some time earlier, her heart already belonged to God; now, she would know personally the one to whom her heart belonged. Notice also that her whole household was converted. From Paul’s lips to those of Lydia, we find the proclamation of disciples. To demonstrate the reality of her newfound faith she invited Paul and his company to stay at her house.

The Lord offers his message to us as well. We cannot simply allow the words to passively pass through our ears. We need to hold the Good News in our hearts and wonder at its meaning for us. And, if the Word of God is alive in us, then like Paul and Lydia, we can offer it to others whom we meet.

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