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January 26, 1996     The Message
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January 26, 1996

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" The Message -- for Cathollcs ef BJthwestem ladlaM 9 rary.-. on the mount: The beatitudes OOepel COmmentary for 1996, Fourth Sun. Matthew 5:1-12a Matthew constructed five great Jesus in his gospel. We Matthew intended to as giving to his disci- or scrolls just as to have given five books of ', to the Israelites. These or sermons of Moses are "Torah," a word usu- u law. Matthew as a new Moses d to present and his five sermons as a new as the fulfillment or perfection of final interpretation. The disciples of the true Israelites. Just as the Torah from Mt. Sinai, so Jesus as giving the first of his or scrolls from "the mountain." The are gathered around him of Israel and the whole nation of gathered around the mountain to re- f Jesus' five great sermons in Sermon on the Mount." It atitudes. The word "beatitude" is a Latin word meaning hanpiness. translation of "HAPPY are the is not far from the mark, though er the more traditional translation, the poor, etc." There is no need to the material in the beatitudes JeSus. Keeping in mind that Matthew By FATHER DON DILGER COLUMNIST writes about fifty years after the events he describes, we know that changes to the original forms occur through oral tradition. We should acknowledge in the beatitudes not only the changes originating from the Church after Jesus but also theological expansions by Matthew. Both the early Christian Church and Matthew introduced changes by adapting the beatitudes to new times and new places. That changes in the form and wording of the beatitudes were made is clear from a comparison be- tween Luke's version and that of Matthew. Luke has four beatitudes followed by four woes or condemnations. Matthew has eight beati- tudes with no condemnations. In keeping with Luke's concern for the desperately poor who suffer the deprivations of poverty, he speaks directly to the poor and hungry. Matthew speaks not to "YOU poor, etc." but to "THE poor, etc." In contrast to Luke, Matthew addresses the poor in spirit rather than the poor. He addresses those who hunger and thirst for righteousness rather than those who are hungry. In other words, Matthew puts a different spin on the beatitudes than Luke does. For Matthew the beatitudes apply to all disci- ples, not just to the deprived. This allows for consid- erable expansion. He declares blessed or happy the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merci- ful, the pure of heart, the peacemakers, and the per- secuted. Much of the material in the beatitudes can also be found in the Psalms and other parts of the Old Testament. Old Testament background is im- portant for an understanding of why precisely those people are proclaimed as happy or blessed who from a human point of view seem lacking in happiness. The beatitudes envision God as an oriental king. The first duty of the king was to protect the poor, the suffering, the weak, those who could not help themselves, the most vulnerable of a society. These are therefore blessed in the fact and the knowledge that the king, God in this case. is pri- marily concerned about them. They are promised relief from deprivation and suffering. What is the relevance of the beatitudes for today? We note that relief is promised in the king- dom of heaven. Matthew has not given us a clear definition of that term. "Kingdom of heaven" or "kingdom of God" seems to refer not only to the hereafter but also to the present. Matthew may have expected GOd to set things right not only in the hereafter but also in the present by some kind of di- rect intervention. Whatever the meaning he in- tended, we are certainly encouraged by the beati- tudes to bring about and to be God's intervention for the poor, the deprived, the handicapped, and all the vu]nerable people of our society. At a time when our "kings" are questioning every aspect of the safety net for the poor that has been put into place in our society, it well to recall that the rightness of a soci- ety depends on how well that society cares for its weakest and most vulnerable menbers. Usually God leaves it in our hands to bring about the society envisioned by the beatitudes. Readings: Zephaniah 2:3, 3:12-13, I Cor 1:26.31 Pharmacy Delivery Street dy Stratman Pharmacy Ave. IS, Prop. Duncan's Riverside Pharmacy Bob and Norma Duncan Corner Riverside and Governor Evansville 422-9981 PAUL'S PHARMACY Paul Mayer, Owner 2345 W. Franklin St. 425-4364 Plaza Pharmacy Newburgh Plaza Shopping Center Fast Prescription Service Ken and Rebecca Hacker 853-7141 :)ny, Indiana PHONE 326-2321 [ Peoples Trust Company | SOUTH MAIN STREET = P.O. BOX 191 LINTON, INDIANA 47441 I Custom Made On Your Lot Thousands of References POST BUILDING PKGS. Complete pre-engineered packages for you to buitd. Very Low Prices. TRUSS RAFTERS Excellent Prices-Any Size to 100' OVERHEAD DOORS Hundreds in Stock - Nobody Beets Our Prices METAL ROOFING Over 20,000 Sq. In Stock. Any Length Cut To Inch. Best Prices Around. DAVIESS CO. METAL Hwy. 50 E., Cannelburg. 4 mi. E. Montgomery 812-295-4299 ce of Youth and Young Adult Ministry of the Diocese of g applications and inquiries for the position of: c Campus Ministry at Vincennes University. The candidate will be an active and professed Roman Catholic a demonstrated aptitude of personal, theological, and lal ministerial and pastoral abilities. A candidate with a Mas- in Catholic Theology (or related area) is preferred. Candi- Bachelor's Degree in Catholic Theology and a strong aca- al background in Catholic Campus Ministry will O.00ec..n, .o: Campus M|n|ster Search Committee Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry p.o. Box 4169 Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Golden Jubilarians John and Pearl Osborne of rural Evansville will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanks. giving at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 4 at St. Theresa Church, Evansville. Lunch will be served from noon to 3 p.m. in the church cafeteria. All friends and relatives are invited; the couple requests no gifts. They are the parents of five children: Carol Bridges of Evansville, Jacqueline 8chmitt of Boonville, Camille Catiller of Thorntown, In., Larry Os- borne of Roanoke, Va., and Gary Osborne of Chapmans- boro, Tn. They have 11 grandchildren. Mr. Osborne re- tired from Master Manufacturing Company as a tool and diemaker, and as a sales and service engineer for Valeron Tool Corp. Mrs. Osborne is an office payroll retiree of Servel, Ind. During the Feb. 4 Mass, Mr. and Mrs. Osborne will renew their wedding vows. Their two sons, Larry and Gary, and their wives will also be renewing their vows, as they celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversaries.