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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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Fallen Heroes, But Still Trust in Jesus

Going back to our childhood, there were people to whom we looked up. Our heroes inspired and move us. We hoped to be like them. We trusted them and they had a significant impact upon our lives. Unfortunately, heroes also frequently fall from the pedestals upon which we place them. Indeed, we often exaggerate their qualities and achievements, making their falls from grace all the more devastating. The truth is not always well served in hero worship. Men and women are bound to fail us. A boy might think that his father is the strongest man in the world; as he grows up, he is forced to realize that even the best of fathers are still mortal men dealing with sinfulness and weakness. The same can be said about our spiritual fathers or priests. It is only Christ who will never fail us.

The rector of my college seminary joined the Episcopal church and got married and the priest who ran the CCD program in my parish when I was a boy was excused from ministry because of allegations of misconduct with a youth. Priests in the media who meant a lot to me like Fr. Ken Roberts and Fr. John Bertolucci were dismissed for credible allegations. It was all quite devastating to me. These were men who inspired me to be a priest. Indeed, I modeled many elements of my life upon them. When facing the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and elders, Jesus told his friends to do as they say but not as they do. I guess those words still find application in the Christian leadership. When our heroes disappoint us, we become angry and some might even feel duped. Of course, my confidence was ultimately in the Lord. I pray every day that I will be faithful to my promises and charge as a Christian and as a priest. No human relationship or role model can ever come close to the friendship and witness of Christ. The other pieces of the puzzle only fit in place when Jesus is planted in the middle. Instead of wanting to strike out, I pray daily for my fallen heroes and for those whom they wounded, that they might know the mercy and healing of God. I also ask for guidance and strength, that I might be all that I purport and struggle to be.