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Bishop Jenky’s boldest claims going unreported

Posted By May 3, 2012 | 12:49 pm | Commentary
Bishop Daniel R. Jenky's homily at the "A Call to Catholic Men of Faith" Mass in Peoria on April 14 is making headlines because it included some daring assertions. The reporters covering and analyzing the story in the ensuing days weren't actually at the Mass. Neither were the vast majority of the thousands now sharing their opinions via social media, radio call-in shows, emails, etc. Maybe that's why so many are missing the bishop's boldest claims.

From The Catholic Post, newspaper of the Diocese of Peoria, Ill.

By Thomas J. Dermody, editor-in-chief.

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky’s homily at the “A Call to Catholic Men of Faith” Mass in Peoria on April 14 is making headlines because it included some daring assertions. The reporters covering and analyzing the story in the ensuing days weren’t actually at the Mass. Neither were the vast majority of the thousands now sharing their opinions via social media, radio call-in shows, emails, etc.
Maybe that’s why so many are missing the bishop’s boldest claims.
I was the only journalist in St. Mary’s Cathedral for the Mass following the men’s march. And I can testify that what Bishop Jenky said were some of the most incredible statements we’ll hear in our lifetime.
The bishop of Peoria wasted no time. Bishop Jenky’s first sentence claimed a man once dead — for more than 36 hours, no less — is now alive.
Oh, but wait. The bishop went further. Much further.
Bishop Jenky said the dead-man-now-alive was actually brutally killed more than 2,000 years ago.
There’s more. Maybe this time the bishop went too far. Hold onto your pew.
Bishop Jenky claimed the dead-man-now-alive is also … God.
“The inescapable fact of the Resurrection confirmed every word Jesus had ever spoken, and every work Jesus had ever done,” said the bishop. “The Gospel was the truth. Jesus was the Christ, the promised Messiah of Israel. Jesus was the savior of the world. Jesus was the very Son of God.”
Bishop Jenky spoke of Jesus by name or reference more than 50 times in his 14-minute homily. His message was that this beyond-belief news from more than 2,000 years ago should “change everything about us.” It should make us bold and fearless, as it did the first disciples whose lives were changed forever by meeting the risen Lord.
Yet in all of the reporting, analyzing and commenting on the controversial homily in recent days, the name of Jesus is rarely, if ever, mentioned. Why is that?
As part of his call to action “in the power of the resurrection,” Bishop Jenky invoked the names and practices of several past governments that have “tried to force Christians to huddle and hide only within the confines of their churches.” In strong terms, he warned President Obama not to follow that path.
A few bloggers who weren’t at the event read the homily text online or heard it on podcast and made exaggerated political connections with sensational headlines that spread around the Internet. Jesus was nowhere to be seen in their accounts. The focus of the homily somehow shifted to the scoundrels of history the bishop had mentioned once, not the Savior he mentioned 50 times. Maybe some consider the scoundrels more sensational than Jesus.
They would be wrong.
Finally, Bishop Jenky made a claim that really should make global headlines. It should also fill our churches every weekend, if not every day.
“Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ, risen from the grave, is in our midst,” Bishop Jenky proclaimed.
Unbelievable! Except to the millions who believe it. It is a truth that spread like wildfire 2,000 years ago when there was no Internet or cable news. We can’t count on the secular media to help, so Bishop Jenky says it’s up to those of us who believe to share the good news “in our families, in our parishes, where we live, and where we work.”
Don’t expect it to be easy. That was Bishop Jenky’s message. It has certainly been his lived experience in the ensuing days.
In a homily filled with sensational claims, maybe Bishop Jenky’s topper was that Jesus’ “sacred body and blood becomes our food and drink.” Yes, he was serious. How interesting that no one’s talking about that!
Well, we can’t stop talking about Jesus. Or continuing his mission of divine love and mercy. And not only while huddled within the confines of our churches.

 

PHOTO: Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria, Ill., walks through downtown Peoria April 14 with more than 500 men during a “Call to Catholic Men of Faith” march.   (CNS photo/Daryl Wilson, The Catholic Post)