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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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[527] Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Zep 3:14-18 / Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6 / Lk 1:39-56

Mary is viewed by believers as a figure for the Church, particularly as the New Jerusalem. What God did for her we hope to see realized in us: filled with grace and holiness, handmaid of the Lord, and raised or restored body-and-soul to life in heaven. Israel of old wandered through the desert and was given stewardship of the Ark of the Covenant. Mary, as also a daughter Zion would travel the desert to visit her cousin Elizabeth. There she would fulfill the command found in Zephaniah, “Sing joyfully, O Israel! Be glad and exalt with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem!” Indeed, her canticle wonderfully parallels the prophetic words of restitution and mercy from God. Indeed, the prophetic words are realized in a way that the prophet could never have imagined, “Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged! The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior.” The encounter between these women was not between two persons but four. Hidden but present was John the Baptizer in the womb and, more importantly, the unborn Christ. The responsorial uses Isaiah’s words which point even more directly to the feast we celebrate today: “Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel. God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the LORD.”

Speaking for myself, a personal connection is made with the words, “With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation.” I visited the site of the Visitation on two occasions, and there is a well at the bottom of the hill from where the encounter took place. There is now a Catholic church that marks the site. There is a quaint legend about the hell. Supposedly, during the time when the elder Herod had his soldiers out search to kill the Christ Child, Elizabeth and Zechariah placed the baby John in a bucket and lowered him into the well so as to hide him. Otherwise, his death would have been added to the many Holy Innocents who died. When we next encounter John, note that he would again be in the water, albeit baptizing for repentance sake in the Jordan.

The Visitation scene is remarkable on many levels. When Mary entered the house we are told that John leaped in the womb. Even here he is the prophet of the Lord, announcing the presence of the Christ. I recall an artist’s modern “symbolic” depiction which showed a cut-away of Christ shining with brilliant Light in the womb and with John smiling and jumping. Today, especially, there is a powerful pro-life message to this event. Jesus was Lord even in the womb and John was his prophet. Such celebrations make the proponents of abortion very uncomfortable. Every child, inside or outside the womb, is a living person distinct from his or her parents. Every person is precious and irreplaceable. Every child is a reflection of the Christ Child. The mystery of the Incarnation brings home the fact that there is no such thing as a pro-abortion Christianity. This makes abortion and all those who permit or enable it to happen into accomplices to murder, indeed, more than this, a form of attempted deicide. Having already received the greeting associated with the Hail Mary prayer from the angel, we now hear the Spirit-moved addition from Elizabeth, a daughter of Israel: “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” The Church will add the rest. Mary responds with her Magnificat that is used every day in the Liturgy of the Hours: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.” Mary here becomes a prophetess. Note that she says that God is her Savior, not that he “will be,” an indication toward the mystery of her holiness as the Immaculate Conception. She also foretells her continuing role and the devotion of the Church toward her. God has remembered his promise and has sent the Savior or Messiah. The damage caused by sin will be healed. Nothing will ever be the same again.

Faith & Values in the News

Poll Worker Convicted of Voter Fraud

I am not taking sides and I am trying to stay non-partisan.  But this reminds me of jokes told in Democrat circles. This story fits the motto, “Vote early, vote often.” Years ago when there were complaints in Baltimore about votes being cast by the dead whose names had been lifted from cemeteries, one poll worker responded with a straight face, “It all goes to show you that you just can’t keep a good Democrat down!”

Man Returns from the Dead

Jesus would say, “Been there, done that.”  (Of course, this man was not really dead.  When will we get this right?)

Father Andrew Greeley Dies

Father Greeley passed away. Since his fall he had been unable to do very much. Back when I knew him, he always surprised me by the speed that he could talk… and he could type at the same rate, faster than I could think. Rest in peace.

Teacher fired by Catholic school after artificial insemination

Along with several other cases, such will give us a hint as to where we are going with churches and religious morality clauses in regard to employees. Christianity places a high premium on truthfulness and witness, as well as I should add, charity.

Profiting from a Dead Priest

Gloria Christian Gifts is purportedly selling religious medals owned by the late Fr. Lubey as well as patches of an old alb as relics. Such is being conducted without ecclesiastical approbation.  Any medals that Father kept were blessed, making this the sin of simony. BEWARE!  This would include the buyer.  I sent them an email and notified the Archdiocese of Washington.  He regarded every priest as a healing priest. He rejected at every opportunity the semblance of any personality cult. This business would make him very unhappy. While they might mean well, it can too easily take advantage of hurting and sick people.  (This dear priest married my parents and baptized me. He placed me as an infant on the high altar and prayed that I might be a priest. Toward the end, he visited my father at the house to tell Daddy goodbye. They were like brothers. The next day Fr. Lubey passed. He knew he was going to die.)

To The Horror Of Global Warming Alarmists, Global Cooling Is Here

So much for global warming, we may be in for global cooling and a mini-ice age that will last 250 years! Where’s my coat? Shoot! There goes my fundraising ideas for growing oranges in Maryland!

Vatican spokesman says pope is wrong, atheists still going to hell

The media likes to create controversies where there are none. The Pope may have been misunderstood but there is no challenge here to Catholic teaching. God saves whom he wills to save. All the spokesman is saying is if someone knows that the Catholic Church is the true Church and refuses to be a part of it, such a person casts himself outside the saving community of faith. However, non-believers of goodwill probably do not believe the Church’s claim and thus do not fall under the full weight of this judgment. This does not necessarily mean that ignorance will save them; only that charity covers a multitude of sins. Can atheists go to heaven? There is no guarantee that all Catholics and Christians will, particularly if we become comfortable with living in mortal sin.

Abuse. Blasphemy. Communion in the hand?

Part of the problem here is that communion-in-the-hand is done improperly. The communicants are supposed to step aside and place the host in the mouth while standing before the priest, deacon or EMOHC. The minister of the sacrament is obliged to see them put the host in the mouth. Instead, people are taking the host, turning and walking away. With their backs to the minister, they are racing to their pews, sometimes without even saying “Amen.” I am constantly correcting people about this; yes, even to the extent of chasing a person to his seat and demanding the return of the unconsumed host. Communion directly upon the tongue would indeed better safeguard the sacrament; however, even in the old days we had issues with kids throwing up or finding the remains of a host that had been spit out. We would place the host or fragments into a water-filled intinction bowl and allow it to dissolve (in the tabernacle). Communion-in-the-hand is not really new but the restoration of an ancient practice of the Church; however, we have to ask ourselves, maybe the Church had good reason for abandoning the practice? This applies even to elements going back to apostolic and/or to patristic practice.