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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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Re-established Parish Council at Holy Family

The following are the members of the re-established Pastoral Council here at Holy Family: Mrs. Ida Belinky, Miss Cheryl Blake, Mrs. Cynthia Bowie, Mrs. Eleonora Foronda, Mrs. Marsha Hansen, Mr. Joseph Hebron, Mrs. Melissa Hicks, Mrs. Laurel McDonald, Mr. James Murry, Mr. Andres Padilla, Mr. Brian Payne, Mrs. Janet Renze, Mrs. Monette Roxas, and Mr. Michael Turner. This is the maximum number of members permitted by the new Archdiocesan guidelines (15 counting the pastor). The presentation and installation of members was held on Sunday Mass at 9:30 AM on January 26, 2014. Absent on Sunday were Ida, Ellie, Marsha and Joe.

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Pictured here with me after Mass are Andres, Cheryl, Brian, Melissa, Laurel, and Jim.

What is with the Angels in the Cherubic Hymn?

QUESTION:  The Catholic Melkites include in their liturgy a Cherubic Hymn where the Cherubim are called “many eyed” and the Seraphim are “six winged” and soaring on their “pinions”. Can you please take some time and explain some of the meaning?

ANSWER:

As for the Cherubic Hymn, the emphasis is that we enter into the angelic praise and glory to Almighty God. The Sanctus serves a similar purpose in the Roman Catholic liturgy: Holy, Holy, Holy. The more traditional Trisagion is found in our Good Friday Liturgy and is a component of the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

“We, who mystically represent the Cherubim, and chant the thrice-holy hymn to the life-giving Trinity, let us set aside the cares of life that we may receive the King of all, who comes invisibly escorted by the Divine Hosts.”

Holy God, Holy [and] Mighty, Holy [and] Immortal, have mercy on us.
Holy God, Holy [and] Mighty, Holy [and] Immortal, have mercy on us.
Holy God, Holy [and] Mighty, Holy [and] Immortal, have mercy on us.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.

While the gravity is with God and not the angels, the description of the angels is taken from Isaiah 6:1-3.

“In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, a with the train of his garment filling the temple. Seraphim were stationed above; each of them had six wings: with two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they hovered. One cried out to the other: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts! All the earth is filled with his glory!’”

The references to wings and eyes are all symbolism. Seraphim are pictured with six wings and are associated with the purification that comes from fire. Cherubim are imaged as with four wings and many eyes or faces. They are understood as all seeing. Catholic tradition places seraphim at the first rank of the angelic hosts and cherubim at the second. St. John of the Cross writes that the seraphim covering its face with its wings symbolize “the darkness of the intellect in God’s presence.” He continues that the covering of the feet symbolizes “the blinding and quenching of the affections of the will because of God.” It thus constitutes humility of the creature before the Creator.

“With the two remaining wings they flew, indicating both the flight of hope toward things that are not possessed and the elevation above all earthly or heavenly possessions that are not God” (The Ascent of Mount Carmel, II, 6.5).

What Does 1 John 5 Mean?

QUESTION: The reading 1 John 5:14-21 has come up again in the liturgical readings (January 11, 2014) and it confuses me. What does it mean not to pray for the sin that leads to death?

ANSWER:

What we ask should be in conformity with the divine will. Divine providence cannot be circumvented.

We can intervene for the venial sins of our brothers and sisters. That is a basic component of intercessory prayer. If the person is disposed to mercy, then God hears and answers such prayers.

Mortal sin is more serious and requires the immediate contrition of the sinner. The Church also employs the mediation of priestly absolution in the sacrament of Penance.

The one who belongs to God is in genuine friendship with him. Mortal sin signifies a breech. It forfeits the life of grace.

We are commissioned to abide in God and to spread the Good News.

What to Do about Fleeting Bad Thoughts?

QUESTION:  I have horrible fleeting thoughts against God, Jesus, the Holy Mother, and the Holy Spirit– of cursing and blasphemy. It makes me very anxious and I have no peace. What can I do?

ANSWER:

I would recommend that you speak with your local priest. There are too many details not available to me: (1) your age and state of life; (2) the culture and influences to which you are exposed; (3) the level of your religiosity; (4) life experiences and possible trauma; (5) your health and mental stability; and (6) the possibility of spiritual oppression or obsession.

We are constantly afflicted with fleeting bad thoughts and urges but we can redirect our attention and quickly dismiss them. If they are not directly intended and do not reflect our core preoccupation then I would just quickly disregard negative thoughts and images as insignificant. Scrupulosity about them gives them a certain negative hold upon us.

Is Cursing Christ an Unforgivable Sin?

QUESTION:  What kind of sin is it if one curses Jesus as Satan? Is it an unforgivable sin?

ANSWER:  Sin is only unforgiveable if we are unrepentant when we die. The condemnation of the divine as satanic is a serious sin: “The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said, ‘He is possessed by Beelzebul,’ and ‘By the prince of demons he drives out demons.’ Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables, ‘How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him. But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house. Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.’ For they had said, ‘He has an unclean spirit’” (Mark 3:22-30).

Why is the Foot Washing Not a Sacrament?

QUESTION:  Given that the washing of the feet (Holy Thursday) was instituted by Jesus and employs the elements of water and ritual, can you give a good theological reason why it is not considered as a sacrament?

ANSWER:  Actually, there were ancient authorities who thought it might be, but the difficulty was as to what it signified.  St. Augustine made a connection with baptism (and yet there was already a formula for that sacrament).  Most authorities and the Church associated it with ordination to the priesthood.  Indeed, it plays something of this role in the (spiritualized) Gospel of John.  There too the apostles adopted the laying on of hands upon the head of a man as the manner in which he was called to holy orders.  Today, the foot washing increasingly refers to our commission as servants or disciples.  That is already sufficiently signified in our baptism and confirmation.  So I guess the short answer is that the sacraments are not capricious.  There was no need for an eighth sacrament.  However, once a year it does function as a “sacramental” that emphasizes both the importance of the priesthood and our call to live out our Christianity with humility and charity.

Holy Family Hosted Student Marchers for Life

About a hundred students stayed with us from Purdue, Butler and Marian Universities.

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We had a pro-life Mass on Wednesday morning before the March. The students from Marian were largely in attendance.

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Here are some of the Purdue and Butler students posing before our Cemetery of the Innocents.

God bless these pro-life champions. They braved freezing cold and snow to make a difference.