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January 13, 1989     The Message
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January 13, 1989

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January13,1989 Commentary III III II The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 Mass Readings By FATHER DONALD DILGER The wedding at Cana: the new wine Gospel commentary for Sunday, January 15, 1989 John 2:1-12 There are seven miracles in the Gospel of John. Six of them have a parallel miracle in the synoptic gospels (Mark, Matthew, Luke). The changing of water into wine occurs only in the Gospel of John. Jesus, his mother, brothers and disciples are all at a wedding in Cana, Galilee, a town about nine miles north of Nazareth, Jesus' hometown. The wine runs out. Despite the age-old speculation that Jesus and the disciples drank too much, there is no evidence for this in the gospel. Mary tells Jesus: "They have no wine." Those who think the shortage was caused by overdrinking also think that Mary's statement was a mild scolding. But that is not the concern of the author. Jesus answers very strangely: "Woman, what is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come." At the suggestion of Mary to do what Jesus tells them, the servants fill six large stone jars with water. The jars were there for the purpose of ritual purification. At the command of Jesus they drew out some of the water and took it to the maitre d'. This man reproaches the bridegroom with having kept the good wine until last. The story ends with the sentence that this was the first "sign" Jesus worked, and thus "made known his glory, and his disciples believed in him." Mary's statement, "They have no wine," should be interpreted from the Old Testament. There is a parable in Isaiah 5:1-5 of a choice iiii Vatican Letter vineyard upon which the Lord had spent a lot of time. It was his favorite. At harvest time, he found nothing but wild grapes; the vineyard was aban- doned by him. The parable is then applied to "the house of Israel." The Lord looked for justice among his people and instead found bloodshed. He looked for social justice and found instead an uncontrolled pursuit of wealth (corporate raiders). Israel had failed and was abandoned. Much of the Gospel of John is symbolism and this miracle story can be interpreted symbolically. As John sees it, Israel had failed to produce wine. Its institutions were without fruit. John will il- lustrate this further by moving the cleansing of the temple from the end of the public life of Jesus to follow immediately after the changing of water in- to wine. The temple has outlived its purpose. With the same idea in mind, Mark had placed the clean- sing of the temple immediately after Jesus had found a fig tree without fruit. In John 15:1 Jesus will say: "I am the TRUE vine," i.e., the one who produces fruit unlike that vineyard of Isaiah. The six stone jars standing by for the Jewish ritual of purification symbolize the old law. Jesus com- mands that they be filled to the brim with water. He changes the water into NEW WINE. For John the old law has passed away and has been replaced by Jesus himself. John expresses this best in 1:17: "For the law was given through Moses. Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." The new wine is the grace and truth which replaces the law of Moses. The strange answer Jesus gives to Mary, "Woman, what is that to you and to me?" cannot be fully explained here. In the Gospel of Mark there is a considerable distance between Jesus and his family. They never understand him and don't believe in him. Jesus addressing Mary as "Woman" may reflect such a theology in John, too. Earlier in his gospel John had rejected any physical claim to "become children of God." They were not so "by blood, nor by the will of the flesh, nor by the will of man, but by God" alone. Physical relationship does not count in becoming a child of God. Even in Luke, Mary is praised both by Elizabeth and by Jesus himself not so much in being the mother of Jesus, but rather in believing in him. Mary could not change the schedule, so to speak. His glory was to be made known in the "hour" of his passion and death. Nevertheless he grants her implied request. First, he had to demonstrate his total freedom from human claims. There is a lesson here for us. Mary could not rush the schedule. Neither can we. God is free to act or not to act, but John shows us that it is still proper to bring matters to his attention. Is he also telling us that it is O.K. to reach him through his mother? On another occasion, when his "hour" had come, he addresses her again as "Woman" and appoints her as mother of his disciples, and the disciples as her children. "Woman, behold your son! Son, behold your mother." Other readings for Sunday, January 15, 1989: Isaiah 62:1-5; I Cot. 12:4.11 i Armenian earthquake could open chapter of cooperation By JOHN THAVIS NC News Service VATICAN CITY (NC) -- When a devastating earthquake struck Armenia Dec. 7, Vatican officials wanted to help but didn't know how. For them, as for most of the Catholic Church, the Caucasian republic was a largely unknown and inaccessi- ble place on the far side of Soviet bureaucracy. Medical Arts Pharmacy 3700 Bellemeade Avenue Phone 477-1532 Donald Gutzweiler City-Wide Delivery Duncan's Riverside Pharmacy Prescription Service Drugs-Sundries-Cosmetics Magazines - "We Deliver" Corner Riverside and Governor Evansville 422-9981 Newburgh Pharmacy BILL REINE, Pharmacist Complete Prescription Service and Health Supplies. Phone 853-6166 :::!:::::::::::::  :  ::;::::  ::;:;:;:: . :i i ;:i" ' :i:''":' " '!'i!!:!!i ":::$V:$'"! ":]:: t:.:!::-' ,:i  .,.:::. ,? ..'.:"', .: ::. : !. ....... : ,..::.$:: :...z ::::., "-'$ :: :'::: ::.:.:::.:..! :! But just one week later, members of a Catholic relief team, including a Vatican of- ficial, were hiking through the muddy streets of Spitak, Armenia's worst-hit city. After witnessing the destruction firsthand, they sat down with local authorities to help plan a rebuilding effort. Their eight-day visit highlighted what might be one of the most unexpected results PAUL'S Pharmacy Paul Mayer, Owner 2170 W. Franklin St. 425-7141 Plaza Pharmacy Newburgh Plaza Shopping Center Fast Prescription Service Ken and Rebecca Hacker 853-7141 Oak Hill Pharmacy Prescription Specialists Hwy. 62 and N. Welnbach Ave. LARRY SCHULTHEIS, Prop. 425-4422 Stratman's Pharmacy City-Wide Delivery 413 Locust Street John and Judy Stretman 425-5293 of the tremor: a new chapter of Catholic cooperation with the Armenian church and govern- ment. Much of what happened, and the speed at which it happened, depended on the personal ef- forts of a 33-year-old Italian priest, Father Claudio Gugerot- ti, who heads the "Armenian desk" at the Vatican's Con- gregation for Eastern-rite Chur- ches. Because he speaks Armenian fluently, and because he was friends with the Soviet consul in Rome -- who is, by coin- cidence, an Armenian -- Father Gugerotti was able to cut through the usual red tape with a single phone call to the con- sul. He lined up entry permits for himself and two officials of Caritas, the Catholic charity and relief organization. In the end, the Soviet Era- "Where customers send their [00ends!" Open nightly 61 9 p.m. Uebeih00r & OLD US 231 SOUTH- ,JASPER, IN - 482-2222 Funeral Homes Iu Four ZIEMER'SHEARS Convenient Locations EAST CHAPEL 800 S. HEBRON AVE. bassy in Rome picked up the tab for most of the trip, Father Gugerotti said. Msgr. Giuseppe Pasini, the director of Italian Caritas who made the trip, said the group was operating without its usual "point of reference" -- a local Catholic Church in the stricken area. In addition, it was the first emergency relief effort directed toward the Soviet Union. In set- ting up a relief program, he said, Caritas had to first address the delicate problem of who would distribute the funds. To their surprise, Msgr. Pasini said, the group received guarantees from local govern- ment officials that the Arme- nian Orthodox Church would have complete control over the aid. In fact, one Armenian of- ficial, mindful of possible cor- ruption at other bureaucratic levels, told them that using the church as a direct channel was "the safest way for us, too." "The authorities themselves insisted that aid go through the Armenian church," Father Gugerotti confirmed. "This is important. The Soviet policy in general is to keep religion isolated inside the church buildings. But with a main role in the rebuilding ef- fort, the Armenian church will become a protagonist in social life," Father Gugerotti said. "It opens up very interesting prospects," he added. Ironically, the Armenian church might have to put off the scheduled reopening of some closed churches, a recent con- cession under the Soviet restructuring policy of See VATICAN page 15