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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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Divine Wisdom Insures Oneness in Faith

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Often omitted in critiques of the “Document on Human Fraternity” (February 4, 2019) is the part about divine wisdom as the “source” to be “different” in what one believes. When individuals are labeled “different” it usually implies that the person is “touched” or somewhat out of sync with reality. Real faith or belief brings a profound unity with God and with the world he has made.  God has given us various avenues for truth. Speaking for myself, I cannot hold that God is the author of sloppy thinking, denial of proven scientific discoveries and an assortment of religions that disagree with each other more than finding any consensus. It seems to me that God gave us philosophy and logic so that we might rationally consider the ultimate questions. God gave us science and experimentation so that we might understand something of his creation and the objective or real world. God gave us a definite religious faith so that we would appreciate that we are not cosmic accidents but children of a loving and omnipotent Father.

As a Catholic I believe without question that God established covenants and led his people through the patriarchs and prophets. God sent his Son so that he might reveal his face to mankind and save us from our sins. Christianity has an answer that satisfies the soul. The message of Christian faith might be denied or distorted but it makes sense in a way that no religion can except possibly for Judaism. The Christian faith is a narrative that interacts with the stories of each and every man and woman. Here we are talking about the definite story of salvation. Revelation comes to the Church through the movement and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The truths of God are entrusted to the Catholic Church.  What God gives her, she dispenses to the children.

The document comes very close to mouthing the sentiments of Pilate.  He was loyal to the emperor and respectful toward the pagan deities of Rome, yes even when he placed no faith in them.  He had seen too much.  Cynicism had taken ahold of his soul.  All these different nations and people he encountered each claimed that their religion was the true one.  The Jews went so far as to fight among themselves.  The situation with Jesus took him by surprise.  His wife had dreamed about this man and she begged him not to have anything to do with his condemnation.

“So Pilate said to him, ‘Then you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’ Pilate said to him, ‘What is truth?’” (John 18:37-38).

The truth of Christ would break through a world of lies.  Pilate, himself, is touched by this mystery.  However, he was afraid of the crowd.  Maybe on some level he understood that if he allowed the truth of Christ to penetrate his soul then nothing would ever be the same?  The acceptance of Christ always shines a light upon the confusion and deception that surrounds us.  Christianity refused to compromise with pagan Rome and so the age of the martyrs began.  Christianity was not a religion tolerant of others.  The truth is what it is.  You cannot be a Christian and eat the meat of idols!  Ours is a jealous God!  Jesus is the SAVING NAME.  “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved” (Acts 4:12).

See also DOCUMENT ON HUMAN FRATERNITY.