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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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The movement of the liturgy picks up speed as we approach Communion. The Roman Rite has always been known for this and the brevity of its closing prayers and rituals. Before receiving the Lord’s great sacrament we turn to the oration given us by Jesus when his apostles asked him how to pray.  Our Lord does two things:  he gives us his prayer as our own and he gives us a model for all other Christian prayers. Lest we fail to appreciate the meaning of the Mass, the Lord’s Prayer gives a resounding reverberation to the entire liturgy. Indeed, any catechesis on the Mass can easily be hijacked by an explication of the Our Father.  Unpacking it is not easy.   The words we often speak in private, we speak together in unison at Mass.  The universal catechism states: [CCC 2803] “After we have placed ourselves in the presence of God our Father to adore and to love and to bless him, the Spirit of adoption stirs up in our hearts seven petitions, seven blessings. The first three, more theological, draw us toward the glory of the Father; the last four, as ways toward him, commend our wretchedness to his grace.” 

It is through faith and baptism that we are made adopted members of the royal household or family of God. God is our Father.  Jesus is our elder brother.  Mary is our Queen Mother.  God is in heaven.  Indeed, one might argue that heaven is in God or where ever God is.  The whole meaning of the incarnation and the redemptive work of Christ is that God makes a home with us so that we might have a room in his heavenly mansion. God’s name is Holy. Indeed, he is the source for all holiness: Holy, Holy, Holy. We submit ourselves to divine providence and to the divine kingdom that breaks into the world, first through the presence of Christ and now through his Church. We are made for God— to know him, to love him, to serve him, and to give glory to him, forever.  Each day is God’s gift to us.  We are dependent upon him.  He gives us food for our bodies and saving bread for our souls.  Our Lord enters the world to heal the rift between heaven and earth.  He makes possible the forgiveness of sins.  He is the Divine Mercy.  “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We are not bargaining with the Lord.  Rather, we are called to imitate the Lord in loving and forgiving others, even those who hate us and hurt us.  If Christ is alive in us then the Father will see his divine Son in us and give us a share in his reward or victory.  We pray to be spared temptations too great for us to endure but whatever comes, we trust the Lord will give us strength. We beseech deliverance from evil, in particular the devil.  We are no longer Satan’s property.  Our freedom from bondage has been bought at a great cost— the Cross.  Now we are summoned to take up our crosses and to follow him. 

The Our Father ends with a double embolism (qualifying insertion).  The first is the Deliver Us prayer which plays off the plea for freedom from evil. While the focus is the devil it would include bad men, natural calamities and institutional evil.  There are eschatological elements as we await the coming of the Lord:  “deliverance from evil,” “peace in our days,” “the help of mercy,” “freedom from sin,” “safety from distress,” and “a blessed hope.”  The second embolism is the familiar doxology that is often immediately added to Jesus’ words by Protestants: “For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever.” It is arguably the Church’s immediate response to the Lord’s Prayer added by the early Church.  The doxology does not appear in the most ancient biblical texts. Voiced at worship, it is copied by scribes into subsequent bibles as an addendum to the words of Jesus.

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