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January 30, 1998     The Message
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14 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Jesus" inaugural sermon: A violent By FATHER DONALD DILGER Columnist Gospel Commentary for January 30, 1998: Fourth Sunday: Ordinary Time: Cycle C: Luke 4:21-30 Jesus' public ministry in Luke began with some public teaching in Galilee, his home province. After some time he returned to his Galilean hometown, Nazareth. There he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath; just as any other faithful Jew. He stood up to read. They handed him a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and read from Isaiah 61:1-2. It was pointed out in last week's column that the words read by Jesus from the Scriptures seem to be assem- bled by Luke. The reason is simple. First, Luke is writing about 50 years after Jesus' departure. Second- ly, Luke does not stick to the text of Isaiah 61:1-2. He omits part of this text and adds words from an earlier section of Isaiah. Luke was composing this reading to express a major theme of his gospel, God's love for the poor, the physically and spiritually handicapped, and social outcasts. This is how Luke envisions the ministry of Jesus and of his Christian community. After this introduction he portrays Jesus sitting down, while "the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him." This is Luke's dramatic opening to Jesus' homecoming sermon at Nazareth. The Lucan Jesus astounds everyone with the opening words of his sermon, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." What Luke means by that statement will be explained in two examples Jesus gives. But first, the positive reaction. Jesus is well received by his fellow townspeople. They praised him and wondered over the gracious words that Jesus spoke. We must remember that these people had not read the as yet uncomposed first two chapters of Luke in which Luke describes unusual heavenly and earthly phenomena at Jesus' annunciation, birth, presentation in the temple, and a later visit to the temple. To the people of Nazareth this was the village carpenter who, at about the age of 30, "got religion" and went on the road as a travel- ing preacher proclaiming the nearness or presence of the kingdom of God. That is why they say with some astonishment, "Isn't this Joseph's son?" Luke has already told his readers otherwise, but the people of Nazareth of the time of Jesus were still in the dark, so to speak, clueless. First, Luke's Jesus notes that the people of Nazareth are probably expecting him to do the mira- cles at Nazareth that he had done at Capernaum, none of which are described in Luke. Luke is here depending on the Gospel of Mark, where Jesus begins his ministry with multiple healings and cur- ings at Capernaum. Theix attitude is summed up in a proverb Jesus quotes, "Doctor, heal yourself!" In other words, do here at home what you did out there. Luke has in mind a very different direction for this sermon of Jesus. Today we would call him a skilled homilist who knows how to use the Scriptures. It is Luke who is writing this homily to expand on Isaiah 61:1-2, for that is how the gospels were written. He took traditions from the Gospel of Mark and other sources and arranged them to teach whatever catech- esis he intended to teach. Within this catechesis we Christians believe that we find God's revelation, not because it is attributed to Jesus, but because Luke's whole work was gradually accepted by the Christian Churches as inspired by the Spirit and therefore a vehicle of God's revelation. The Lucan Jesus gives two scriptural examples. He introduces them with the now well known state- ment that "no prophet is acceptable in his own coun- try." The first example is the ninth century B.C. prophet Elijah. There was a great famine in Israel at that time. There were many widows in Israel to whom Elijah could have gone for some food: drink, so says Luke. Elijah, however, did n0t house of an Israelite widow, but to widow of the non-Israelite city of presume that this widow was a tile, for that is the point of the sermon. example is an incident in the life of the Elisha, disciple and successor to Elijah. always many lepers in Israel, but the only l through the intercession of Elisha was eral Naaman. He, too, was not an tile. We can now see where Luke is sermon. In these examples he has reaches out to widows, to lepers, to Gentiles. were usually desperately poor. shunned. Gentiles were despised. ' Luke now takes an entirely new he did not find in the Gospel of Mark. people simply criticize and insult more than a carpenter whose mother andf all know. In Luke's version the so angry at these references to God's love est rungs of their society that they Jesus over a cliff. Today people may not, pastor's homilies, but usually t violent. Luke's point is direct and the lead of Mark and Paul, who, justified the Christian Church's accepted social, religious, and n We know how Paul and others tion, and even attempts on their life crossing of boundaries. They justified their ministry by examples from the from the life of Jesus. These examples There are still Christians in name who not accept the Church's primary mission as to the poor and to the "lepers" of our Readings: Jeremiah 1:4-5, 12:31-13:13; Luke 4:21-30. Special Jubilartans Frands and Dorothy (Bouvy) Williams of Vincennes will cele- brate their sixtieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanks- giving at 11 am. Feb. I at St. John the Baptist Church, Vincennes. They were married Feb. 1, 1938. They are the parents of Emil "Sam" Williams, Bill Williams and David Williams, all of Vin- cennes; Benedictine Sister Mary Francis W'flliams and Mary Tray- lor, both of Evansville; Helen Hoffman of Olney, Ill.; John Williams of Sullivan; Jim Williams of Rollinsford, N.H.; Lawrence W'flliams of Rockvflle, Ind.; Chuck Williams of Bloom- tristan, Ill.; Mike Williams of CrawfordsvUle, and Sally Macklin of Newton Falls, Ohio. They have 31 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. .... UNITED SOUTHWEST BANK lamm n*c WASHINGTON-SHOALS-LOOGOOTEE  HAUBSTADT ELECTRIC Licensed Bonded Insured Industrial, Commercial and Residential ; P.O. Box 405 i TONY NAZARIO Haubstadt, IN 476391 812-768-5207 1-800-766-2787 BUILDING SAVINGS BANK, FSB 200 E. Van Trees St., Washington 500 Main St., Petersburg i Paul E. Nonte [ Certified Public Accountant 112 W. 5th St., Jasper Dr. Jane A. Hormuth Chiropractic Physician 474-0704 1111 S Green River Rd., Suite 104 Bau, sale r, so t 800qB384)808 497qB660 C0RRESSELL, INC. HEA11NG AIR CONDITIONING REFRIGERATION Commm. . Reskkm Alan Corressell 426-1440 00.Lo. We've 0, Thanks to all our cfients for their confu!ence in Fleck Insurance Agency, Inc. Jasper, Indiana COMPLET Ph: 482-1125 Chri Bev (812) 634-77 Needed for 368 family parish. NeW Will focus on implementation of re education programs for pre-school thru ages. Looking for self-starter, organizer and team worker. Qualifications: BNBS, experience education/theology preferred. or other formal training and experie: be considered. Available prior to enu 98 school year. Send resume, requests for more information to: DRE Search Holy Cross Church c/o Scott Scheller 805 E. Strain St. Ft. Branch, IN 47648 /, /! !