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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 Elevation of Mary

Luke 11:27-28 has had a long and sometimes mangled tradition among those who call themselves Christians. I recall reading some years ago a believer of another Christian community using this very passage to deride Mary, the Mother of God. He criticized stringently the Catholic stress upon her cooperative role with Christ in our redemption. He insisted that we, because of our faith in Christ, are much superior to her. The impression was that she was a stupid girl of which God made use. Of course, if the text were taken simply in how it first impresses us, his argument might have a leg to stand upon. However, we who are called to see things with two-thousand year old eyes, view the text for what it truly is — an elevation of Mary’s dignity and a reaffirmation of Christ’s call for us to be like her.

Although we could never fathom the wonder of this woman who was privileged to carry our Savior in her womb and who would indeed nurse him from her breasts; Mary first became his mother, not physically but spiritually. Christ says, “Blest are they who hear the word of God and keep it.” From the very beginning, that is what Mary did. The angel came to her and announced God’s favor. She responded with her whole being as the handmaid of the Lord. She responded to God by allowing the Word to be conceived in her very person. And she kept it. The significance of this phrase cannot be overestimated during this age when so many mothers choose not to keep the little ones alive inside of them. Mary’s YES extended throughout her whole life, making her Christ’s first disciple. When so many had fled into hiding, where was she? She was where she always was, beside her Son, even as he hung upon a cross.

Now, we are called to place our footsteps beside those of this first disciple. The Word of God needs to take root in our hearts and we need to keep it. Like her, if we nurture this special presence given us, we can give birth to Christ in our world today. And God knows; we do so desperately need him.

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