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January 3, 1997     The Message
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1997 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 11 "Commentary-_ ny of the lord: a king is revealed to the world GOspel commentary for 1997: Epiphany of Year B: Matthew 2:1- story of the epiphany formal introduction as king Since record of such an and no indication what- of the f Unusual phenomena we must this episode ascertain just what By FATHER DON DILGER COLUMNIST to teach by this story and what contained in it. There is no r gospels ever intended to ltion was to assemble tradi- esus and combine them with Old Testa- to create a catechism for their vari- core of the gospels there is life times, deeds, and words of but these traditions altered by our gospel authors to form :manuals we call "gospels." They were they were religion or theology of the Epiphany Matthew as Old Testament passages eleraen[s in his story. His genius and Spirit of God combined to use this frevealed truths about Jesus. The " in the story is the city of is Important because it was the ng David about 1,000 B.C. s insist on the relationship of ancient king. Matthew's whole family centers on King David. Thus Jesus is clearly defined as King Jesus, "Son of David." Matthew will point out the emphasis on Bethlehem by cit- ing the prophet Micah 5:2 and com- bines Micah with II Samuel 5:2, "And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah, for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel." Matthew not only combined Micah with Second Samuel but he also changed the text of Micah to make it say that Bethle- hem was "by no means" the least, whereas Micah had said it was the least. A second important element is the star. While _ fundamentalist commentators keep searching ancient skies for the star, it is much closer. It is found in the Old Testament Book of Numbers 24:17, "A star shall come forth out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel .... "The original intent of these prophetic words seems to have been a justifi- cation for the monarchy that arose in David the King. Christian theology gave it an entirely new meaning. The star becomes a symbol of Jesus who "shall arise out of Jacob," i.e. a Jew, an Israelite. Matthew combines this passage from Numbers with the popular belief of his time that a new star is born whenever a human being is born and/or important person's birth is announced by a new star in the sk): For the theology of the star we must first see about the Magi who come from the East with their gifts. Their journey is not as long as it may seem since they come not from the East but from the Old Testament scrolls in Matthew's library. Isaiah 61:6, "All those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord." Psalm 72:10-11, "May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles render him tribute. May the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts. May all kings fail down before him. May all nations serve him." There are other elements of the story that need to be examined but Bethlehem, the star, the Magi and their gifts are essential to Matthew's story and the revelation it conveys. What is this revelation? The theology of Bethle- hem has already been alluded to briefly above. Beth- lehem as birthplace of Jesus together with Matthew's emphasis on Jesus' descent fi'om King David proclaims Jesus King of the Jews. The star is an additional emphasis on Jesus as descendant of David and therefore a king because the original intent of the prophecy from which Matthew adopts the star was to legitimize the monarchy of King David. But the star together with the Magi teach the most important lesson of the story. The Magi are Gentiles. They see the star, a natural phenomenon. 'According to Paul in Romans 1:19-20 the Gentiles, i.e. the pagans who do not have supernatural revela- tion, can come to the knowledge of God through God's creation, in this case a star. But this is only natural revelation. To come to the full truth they must approach Jerusalem, "for salvation is from the Jews," John 4:22. Therefore the Magi guided by nat- ural revelation come to Jerusalem. There they ask the proper questions which are answered by Jewish scholars from the Scriptures. They joyfully receive this revelation and act upon it. Now armed with both natural and supernatural revelation, they pro- ceed to Bethlehem and with their gifts and adora- tion they recognize Jesus as king not only of the Jews but also of themselves, the Gentiles, the nations of the earth. This is the revelation that God brings through the Spirit-inspired genius of Matthew's gospel. There is one more point: The magi are us? Readings for Epiphany: Isaiah 60:1.6; Eph. esians 3:2.3a,5.6. R LINCOLN l JASPER MERCUR'Y' 482-1200 A Beautiful Keepsake. The Perfect Holiday Gift. Available in: I Cranberry Red/Natural I Hunter Green/Natural I Navy Blue/Natural 48'x 65" 100% Cotton-- Machine Wash/Dry Please make your check payable to and mail to: Mater Dei Band Boosters P.O. Box 6716 Evansville, IN 47719 812-424-8701 8AM-5PM TAWIL ELECTRONICS, INC. COMPUTERs, NETWORKS, SALES & SERVICES INDUSTRIAL ELECTRONICS PARTS ION, TRAINING & REPAIR & WIDE AREA NETWORKS LANTASTIC . NOVELL UNIX- ZENIX 812-425-1100 NORTH BEDFORD AVENUE .LE, IN 47711 THE TRI-STATE SINCE 1977 CLYDE ROSS PAINTING Henderson Kentucky Parking Lot Striping Sand Blasting Commercial, Industrial 502/827-9706 i FLOWERS & MORE Complete Floral Service - FREE---7 SERVICtNG ALL TY-WIDE I AREA HOSPITALS t-DELIVERYJ & FUNERAL HOMES (812) 424-8931 1-800-545-7296 Bob Jacobs 10(X) West Franklin St.. Evansville ' ' :a/,t d Fresh Flowers. Silk Arrangements Gift Items 207 N.E. 5th Street Washington, Indiana47501 (812) 254-7200 "Over 50 Semi Loads in Stock" 36" coy. #1 white from $41.95 sq.& up (13 colors slightly higher) #2 metal ....... $26.95 to $37.95 sq. #3 metal ....... $18.95 to $29.95 sq. 5V and t-1/2"galv. In Stock OVERHEAD DOORS Over 300 in Stock 9 x 7 Insulated ................. $239.81 TRUSS RAFTERS Any size up to 100' span POST BUILDING PKGS Any Size  Call for Free Quotes DAVIESS CO. METAL SALES Hwy. 50 E., Cannelburg. 4 mi. E. Montgomery 812-295-4229 Golden Jubilarians William and Margaret Macke of Evansville will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanks- giving at I p.m. Jan. 12 at Resurrection Church, Evansville. A reception will follow from 2 to 4 p.m. in Resurrection's cafeteria. Friends are welcome. The couple was married Jan. 9, 1947, at St. Mary Church, by Father John C. Rager. They are the parents of six children: Glenn Maeke, Daniel Maeke, David Macke, Linda Denstorff and Sarah Seng, all of Evansville, and Joyce Maeke of Indianapolis. They have I0 grandchildren. Mr. Macke is retired from Whirlpool; Mrs. Macke is retired from Resurrection School Cafeteria.