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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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Sunday, 19th Week of Ordinary Time

SUNDAY, Week 19 – Homily Notes

“For in secret the holy children of the good were offering sacrifice and putting into effect with one accord the divine institution.”

God sees the whole picture. We do not. What we understand is limited to the current mess where we find ourselves. The past is fleeting and memory fails us. The future has yet to be realized and we know all too well how human plans often do not work out. But it is a tenet of faith that nothing can circumvent divine providence. Our first reading from Wisdom shows an early insight into this truth. Despite the faithlessness of men and women, God kept his promises. Of course, while they saw a family become a tribe become a great nation and then a spiritual people of faith; it is doubtful that they fully appreciated where God’s plans would take them. It was enough in ancient days to know that God was good and that he had called them to be his children. They offered sacrifices to the one true God and rejoiced in the covenant they shared. As the people of the promise, one day the Messiah would come and as the great high priest he would offer the true oblation of atonement. The covenant would be ratified and made brand new with the new and everlasting covenant in Christ’s blood.

“Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.”

The psalm response brings this point home. We especially, as the Church, are the blessed People of God. Do we really concentrate upon this blessing? We have so very much. We have the Bible, the sacraments, the Eucharist and the forgiveness of sins, the catechism, the Pope, the testimony of the ancient fathers and the legacy of the saints, we have the various forms of Christian prayer, especially the Rosary, and the list goes on and on. Blessings upon blessings are ours.

It all began with Abraham but it comes to fulfillment in Christ. This is the theme from our second reading, Hebrews. God would spare Isaac, but not his own Son. The prophets and patriarchs died in faith. But now we can embrace a faith, not simply of promise, but of realization. Christ conquers sin and death. We are no longer the devil’s property. We are truly God’s children in truth.

The Gospel speaks to our posture in the Church. Placing our treasure in Christ, we must be committed to his service and alert stewards ready for the Lord’s return. We are not the master of our lives. There might be much that we do not understand. Often, our efforts might seem pointless and we find ourselves counted as failures. None of this matters, because when we see the Lord, he will simply say, as he did to Peter, “Do you love me?” And then as he did for Peter, he will make reference to our mission or stewardship. Flowing from the first question, may come a second, “Have you been faithful?” If the answer is YES then he will tell us as he did in a parable of a faithful servant, “Come, share your Master’s joy!”

Father Joe at Shoreleave Convention – Data from Star Trek

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Here is Father Joe with Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek) and from Warehouse 13, Saul Rubinek (Artie) and Eddie McClintock (Pete).

Priestly Celibacy – Short-changing the Church?

A question that is increasingly coming into vogue with the emergence of Catholic Eastern rites in the West and the accommodation for former Anglicans is this: why should our priests of the Roman rite be deprived of modeling Christian fatherhood and spousal love as do the clergy of Protestant denominations? While there is no denial that a celibate priest can teach and preach on matters of marriage and sexual morality; this perspective merely stresses that we may be depriving ourselves of a wonderful witness for family life from the men who stand at our pulpits and altars. There is no denying that a married minister brings a certain experiential knowledge that has value. Similarly, though, the celibate priest brings a certain distance that may help us to discern issues from a more dispassionate or panoramic view. We can alternately be too far from an issue to offer any applicable solutions or too close to problems to see any available remedies.

The question remains, have we shortchanged ourselves without the recourse of optional celibacy or optional marriage for candidates seeking priestly ordination? Many of us would contend that the way out of this apparent conundrum is to better train and employ our married permanent deacons. They cannot celebrate Mass, hear confessions or anoint the sick; however, they can still witness as married men in sacramental ministry. Eastern rites and former Anglicans aside, just because Protestants have something that we do not is an insufficient rationale for a change. Many non-Catholic faith communities also have women ministers and Pope Francis has reiterated the infallible prohibition of both Benedict XVI and John Paul II that priests must be male. However, we can again cite our current Pope who invites us to be more inviting and enterprising at finding authentic ways for women to serve the Lord and his Church.