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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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Priestly Celibacy: A Terrible Loss or Great Treasure?

Celibacy is often discussed in the context of a renunciation of the world through the self-denial of one of the natural exercises that men and women find most rewarding: the engagement of sexual congress. Of course, the apparent loss goes far deeper. There is the forfeiture of intimacy from a helpmate and the closure to the prospect of progeny. Many men and women feel that this loss would be too terrible to bear. And yet, some through circumstance never discover a spouse, or fail to pursue a love interest, or suffer a natural malady or other misfortune; with the end result being a permanent allotment to the single state. They may live in the hope that such a state might be stripped from them and replaced by matrimony; but, the celibate has put aside all such anticipation. He or she is not really single. They are taken. Indeed, some religious and clergy wear rings to signify their spiritual marriage. Celibacy is not one waiting at a bus station; no, it is the person reaching his or her destination. The Christian celibate sees his life not as a tragedy and loss, but as a joy and a gain. If he did not, then there would be a problem that left unresolved would sour his life and damage his discipleship. As I wrote before, marriage stops at the door of death; celibacy takes us clear through to the other side of that door.

The saints in heaven know a convergence of the mysteries of marriage and celibacy. Human saints will know bodily restoration and eternal celibate life. There is only one marriage in heaven and it is not carnal; it is the nuptial bond and banquet of the Lamb of God. The Church will become the immaculate bride of Christ.

Ordinary 23, Monday

Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, Priest

[437] Col 1:24–2:3 / PS 62:6-7, 9 / Lk 6:6-11

Paul speaks of “filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ,” an admission that is embarrassing to those denominations which contend that our Lord has done everything and that all which remains for us is to have faith in him. We have been redeemed, but salvation is not automatic. Our Lord tells us to take up our crosses and to follow him. What was missing from the passion and crucifixion? The answer is simple, our union and participation with him. He died for us but now he would have us die with him so that we might live with him, in this world and forever in the next. Paul pours himself out as a witness to the Lord and his Gospel. Salvation history does not end with Christ, even as it reaches the climax of God’s intervention; rather, it continues in the lives of believers in the Church. Like Paul, and for the sake of our brothers and sisters, we are commissioned to proclaim the Good News as a “completion” of “the word of God.” Our Bibles are translated and the books compiled. We are taught our faith. No one comes to the baptismal font alone. Our encounter with Christ is not just a mystical experience, but one that is mediated through the sacraments and human vessels.