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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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Jesus Elevates the Dignity of Women

While always regarded as something more than a man’s land and livestock, the Mosaic writ of divorce and cataloguing women along with property, tended to undermine something of the woman’s personal worth and her role as a companion in marriage. Jesus seeks to correct this by stressing the primordial union and elevating the value of women whom he encountered. The woman caught in adultery was threatened with stoning. His challenge to the crowd saves her. But he tells her to avoid this sin in the future. She was singled out for condemnation by the mob, but where was the man with whom she sinned? A double-standard was at work. The Samaritan woman at the well is told her past by Christ, who knows all her infidelities, and he offers her saving water. She too did not sin alone and who knows what dire circumstances pressed her into many transitory unions? She becomes a prophetess for her people. He forbids divorce as something that was never supposed to be, but tolerated before his coming because of the hardness of their hearts. Women deserve better treatment and should not be cast off.

Then there is the Mother of Christ. At the wedding feast of Cana she tells him that the wine has run out. He says to her, what business is this to me, woman? Joseph is gone and now Jesus is the head of her little household. Nevertheless, she tells the stewards to do as he says and he changes water into wine. The heart of the home will always have a lot of influence and meaning. Jesus preserves the joy of the marriage banquet. Similarly when located in the temple, the boy Jesus challenges her. And yet, we are told that he “immediately” came along with her and the good St. Joseph and was obedient to them. Mary was “the woman,” and according to the fathers of the Church, “the new Eve.” She would be the spiritual Mother of the many adopted sons and daughters of God. Although his physical Mother, she would also prefigure the Church as the spiritual and spotless bride of Christ. Her model for womanhood would always be with Jesus. Our Lord saw in her the great dignity and immeasurable value of all women, and their inherent potential for holiness.