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Evansville, Indiana
January 26, 1996     The Message
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January 26, 1996
 

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m The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana b Forum Potpourri -- The month of January is wind- mg down, however, its events give us all reason to hope. Martin Luther King Memo- Hal Holiday Each year we are reminded of the nl - '1:, . r'dom of one who gave his em preaching the gospel of non- ih: T.e witness of Rev. Mar- all-- .met King Jr. should never be u to go unheeded. ,e memorial day set aside to the giant of a man called a "holiday" only if we personal lives violence of any kind. To do other- such a memorial into a day of shame as many years ago. Christian Unity preceding January 25 each year "octave" (eight days) of prayer all Christians. Yes, we pray that profess Jesus as Lord and in faith. We are already one in b tcult goal to achieve no matter nity among believers is equally elusive. achieved, unity is so very fragile. Since cil concluded in 1965, there have and intense dialogues between Christian denominations in has been accomplished, yet there problems in coming together in Father looks to the beginning of the of Christianity as a time when On,the events Januaryi00an00iFeb there may be a breakthrough:in- " ': we*c' 15U the tlbcdfin paper on the "Internet" it ..... bringing Christian believers to- remains for me the only way to communicate .iIh gether, not only in baptism, but in each household since' the cost of direct p'rsi/lmail the practice of the faith. We all is prohibitive .... "r.  ..... pray so! Make sure that your daughters an'd so ih"oI- lege or university get a copy of our paper. Purchase March for life a subscription to the Message for each of them as Upwards of a hundred and well as renewing your own. fifty of our sisters and brothers from the Diocese of Evansville Catholic Schools Week made the long pilgrimage to our na- The second bridge spanning January 'and By BISHOP tion's capitol in Washington. There, February is the celebration of the significance of our GERALD A. on their own behalf and all of ours, GETTELFINGER Catholic Schools. Our deaneries and parishes pro- they expressed in a peaceful way riding Catholic school education for children and our deep belief in the sanctity of all young people are to be commended. ,,, life. That is the real message. Catholic Schools are a heavy burden on parents In giving witness to life, they also clearly stand against any act that takes life or diminishes it in and other parishioners who make them possible. any way. The evils of abortion and euthanasia are There is no understating that fact. the sinful "bookends" to the whole library of anti-life On the other hand, there can never be an over- statement of the value of a Catholic school educa- activities in our country. The public witness of a relative few of our num- tion for a child or teenager. Its value is not immedi- ber is an encouragement to all of us who could not ately measurable, for the only test that reflects it is make the annual pilgrimage to Washington on be- life itself. half of life. Let us all intensify our own witness at There is one other stunning fact. Unless par- home, in school, at work and at play to the sanctity ents at home are talking to their children about of all life from the unborn to the elderly. That wit- faith and practicing it there, the parish and school ness is a responsibility of each of us! are rendered virtually ineffective in passing on the faith. The Message The Catholic school does however enhance ex- The end of January and the beginning of ponentially the passing on of the faith that is first February are bridged with two other major efforts initiated in the home. The Catholic school is the re' in our diocese, sponse of the deanery and parish to the obligation it In anticipation of February, Catholic Commu- has to parents in assisting them in the passing on of nications month, our Message has its annual sub- the faith .... scription drive. We have reason to celebrate the presence of our I wish that every household in our diocese re- Catholic Schools! We have reason to be grateful for ceived the Message each week. Until such time as them! gospel according to David Copperfield suggested was a Yet he and types have our atti- Scripture. like "The meats  and to for- in the that, illusions. of many If more Pperfield,s tOUld anyone those who all the performed, tool But I anYthing like {abner, S.J., gazine once called the "world's greatest theologian," describes a mira- cle as a sign. It's a sign of God's power that takes place within a certain historical con- text, for a particular group of people at a particular time in their history. The miracles de- scribed in Sacred Scripture are not'tricks to astound and im- press, but occurrences that re- veal something about God and our salvation; they are God's way of opening peoples' hearts to an important teaching or truth. And a miracle is not some- thing that suspends or is contrary to  God's laws of na- ture. A miracle, in the strict theological sense, builds on na- ture, enhances nature, and shows what is possible beyond the usual course of human events. So if a miracle is not a magic trick, what is it exactly? Let's take a close look at one of the most poignant and pow- erful miracles in the New Tes- when everyone had finished eating, they filled 12 hampers with the leftover scraps! The Hollywood version of this miracle would be a magic trick: as each loaf of bread is taken from the boy's basket, another "magically" appears; the same with the fish. Now let's think about this miracle as a sign of God's power meant to touch and teach people about faith and salvation. And remember that a miracle does not suspend the laws of nature (as a feat of magic seems to) but .builds on nature. Let's begin with a few com- mon sense questions: Is it rea- sonable to think that thou- sands of people who had left their homes to follow Jesus for several days took no food with them? Granted, after a few days, their supplies may have been running low. But the nor- mal human thing to do in that case would be to return home, eat a meal'or get more food, that when the young boy stepped forward to share his few loaves and fisb, thousands of adults were touched by his simple, child-like act of self- lessness? Is it not possible that thousands of lives were changed by this small act of kindness? Is it not possible that the food many people were keeping for themselves sud- denly appeared and was shared with others? Suddenly the Scripture quote, And a child shall lead them," begins to make sense! A magic trick is just that: a "trick"  an action designed to fool you or make you think you've seen something you re- ally didn't see. The miracles found in the Scriptures are signs Of God's power and pres- ence. Miracles are meant to teach and reveal. Thousands of people experienced God's power and presence as they joyfully and lovingly, began to Share their food with their neighbors on that hillside in tament: the miracle of the and rejoin the crowd: And is it Galilee. reasonable to think that thou-'.. Perhaps the real miracle loaves an, i sands of ple truly expected i: was a time conversior/t onlyone ; Jemis:to feed:them? . ' . who mentions a "small boy Is it not possible that m0st;:Washington. with five barley loaves and two people in that enormous crowd fish.* had some food stashed away Continued frompage 4 Here was the situation (as described in John 6): As many as 5,000 (and probably thou- sands of women and children) had been following Jesus for several days because they were impressed with his %igns" (miracles) and his message. Jesus asked Philip, the apos- tle, how they were going to feed all these people. Andrew, Peter's brother, brought a small boy forward with his five loaves and two fish and said "this is all we have." Later, for their own consumption? Would it not be human nature to keep what little food you had for yourself, especially if you thought no one else had any? So what was the miracle?  What was the real sign of God's power that manifested itself for those people at that time in their lives that taught them something about God, Jesus' message, and their sal- vation? Is it not entirely possible workshop on violence at the youth congress. It illustrated for her how persistent the problem has become. "I had a really hard time get- ting the kids past 'What's wrong with thiS?'" she said. rhey're desensitized to it, but (feel) entitled to it," Ms. Cori- dan added. The typical atti- tude? Of course I can do this. It's rated PG-13. I can watch this. I'm 14." Four ways she suggested dealing with the issue of youth event caused in the hearts of Jesus' disciples through a clas- sic lesson in good stewardship: as you share with others, you are returning to God, in grati- tude, a portion of the blessings you have received. As he neared the end of his life, Jesus addressed his most important message about mir- acles to fill of us: "Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed." If we need to see magic tricks before con- vetting to a life of full and com- plete stewardship, we've missed the point of our faith. We are surrounded by mira- cls every day. God is con- stantly showing his power and presence in all of nature. We need to remember what thou- sands of people on a hillside 2,000 years ago felt when they saw a young boy step forward and, with complete trust, offer his few pieces . of food to Jesus, Pray that society's tricksters have not made us so cynical that we by violence we:" consistent ent-child communication; bet- ter parental understandingof a youth Culture that dissees and desensitizes violence; to understand the power and the importance of the media; and to have societal institutions *start taking resixlnsibility... for forming the culture.  "I think we let a lot of thinks happen because we-don't get involved in the process,"Ms. Coridan said. is is wlrt @e can do as church:" -