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February 1, 1991     The Message
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February 1, 1991

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February 1, 1991 Commentary The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5  Mass Readings By FATHER DONALD DILGER The kingdom of God vs. the kingdom of satan Gospel Commentary for Sunday, February 3, 1991; Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time -- Mark 1:21-28 Jesus has just called his first four disciples. The work of the kingdom of God can now begin. But the kingdom of God is not the only kingdom according to the theology of the time'. There is also the kingdom of Satan. That kingdom had already confronted Jesus in the wilderness during forty days of temptation. That was only the first round. The battle between the two kingdoms will con- tinue until what seems to be a victory for the king- dom of Satan, the crucifixion. The second round of confrontation between the two kingdoms now takes place. Jesus and his disciples go to Capernaum, a city On the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. This city becomes a center for Jesus' ministry in Galilee. Like any devout Jew, Jesus goes to the synagogue on the Sabbath. According to custom the president of the synagogue would sometimes ask a visitor thought knowledgeable in the Scriptures to read and ex- plain a text. Jesus must have done this, since the people were amazed at his teaching. He taught them with authority, not like the scribes or religion teachers of the time. They relied mostly on relating and applying the words and deeds of famous scribes of the past. Jesus knew the Scriptures and interpreted them authoritatively. Now comes the action. Mark writes that there was present a man with an "unclean spirit." This has nothing to do with bodily or mental hygiene. The man was demon-possessed according to the judgment of the time. Judging from the symptoms our diagnosis would be an epileptic seizure. But that is not the point of view of the time. Demons . and sickness were closely connected. Mark would not understand such a diagnosis. For him the en- counter between Jesus and this demon was another illustration of the battle between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. There is a dialogue. The demon recognizes Jesus as "the Holy One of God" This is one more way that Mark uses to tell his readers who Jesus is. He had done so twice before in this first chapter. In later encounters the demons will call Jesus "Son of God, Son of the Most High God." In other words, Mark says the demons know it vhile the people around Jesus never did recognize who Jesus was. Jesus orders the demon to put a muzzle on itself and come out of the m/n. A convulsion follows and the demon is gone. The peple are amazed at "this new teaching." If we study contemporary texts we can see why they were so amazed. Jesus had exorcised the demon with a simple command in contrast to the incantations and rituals used by others. An exam- ple is given by a first century writer: an exorcist named Eleazar confronted a man possessed by a demon. Eleazar held a ring containing some kind of magic root up to the nose of the possessed man. While reciting various incantations he pulled the demon out through the man's nose. To prove that the demon had left he set up a cup of water some distance away. As he pulled the demon out of the man he ordered it to spill the water on his way out of the area. The demon obeyed and the bystanders knew it was gone. Mark now adds a note that the fame of Jesus spread everywhere. This is an important theme of the first part of his gospel -- that the fame of Jesus spreads usually against his own will, sometimes even against his specific command. We have seen now that Mark was illustrating for his readers a continuing battle between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. The battle continued in the Church of his time. The persecution of the Roman Church for which Mark seems to have written is recorded in gruesome detail even by pagan writers. The story of Jesus' victory over the demon was in- tended to give Christians hope in their struggle to preserve their faith in the face of persecution. Does this story have anything to say to us? We may have progressed beyond the attribution of sickness to demons, but the existence of an evil force is unmistakable. The demons are many. Among them, as always, the threat of war, at- titudes of racial superiority, racial prejudice, poverty and a disdain for the poor, religious persecution in the name of God. On a more per- sonal level there is addiction to alcohol, nicotine, and other drugs. Such are the demons of our time. There is still hope in the simple command of Jesus: "Put a muzzle on yourself and come out of him!" Other readings for Sunday, February 3, 1991: Deuteronomy 18:15.20; I Cor 7:32.35 TF s Box 68 Montgomery, Indiana 47558 Donald J. Traylor President Phone:486-3285 I EVANSVILLE SERVICE AND SHOPPING GUIDE J FOR THE BEST PLUMBING SERVICE RESIDENTIAL COMMERCIAL (FREE ESTIMATES) GRANT PLUMBING CO. 484 S. GOVERNOR AT CANAL Ph. 424-2441 Spaldings Food Land 2100 Stringtown 1713 E. Morgan 41 1 S. Barker Visit Our C_.omplete Delicatessen Prime Cuts of Beef I Evansville Wet Heat & Piping Co. Inc. New & Used Boilers, Furnaces Repair & Replacement 424-0991 800 E. Oregon Carpet Cleaning SERVICE MASTER For Free Estimates Call 428-0900 GET THE SKILL AND CARE OF FATHER AND SON TEAMS IN GLASS REPLACEMENT SIEMERS AUTO GLASS CO. Ph. 422-4149 1011 VINE ST. lit i ,i =ullNr Sales & Service TV & 2-Way FM 1916 W. FRANKLIN STREET PHONE (812) 423-7849 Herman Goebel Motor Co. NEW OR USED CARS Where the best deals are made Trade up or down Bank Financing 2001 W. Delaware 423-7759 M&S Fire & Safety Equip. Inc. Over 25 years sales and service in the Tri-state 670 E. Franklin 424-3863 $ SAVE $ Your newspapers aluminum cans - glass JEFFERSON SMURFIT CORP. (formerly Alton Packaging Corp.) Reclamation Division 1520 N. 5th Ave. 425-6279 BROWNING FUNERAL HOME 425-2896 Charles A. Browning Catholic legislators help shape laws By ANN WADELTON Indiana Catholic Conference Catholics are actively in- volved in shaping Indiana laws. Thirty-five legislators, who identify themselves as Catholic in the Legislative Directory, help to make the laws. About 2000 Networkers work with the Indiana Catholic Conference to influence those laws for the common good. That's as it should be, accord- ing to Catholic leadership. In the words of Pope John Paul II, "An important challenge for the Christian is that of political life." . The U.S. Bishops said, "If as a nation we are to address effec- tively the complex social and economic issues that confront us, we must-have broad democratic participation in the political process from all segments of society." Of the 5 Hoosier Catholics who are members of the Indiana General Assembly, 22 serve in a position of leadership. Thirteen are in the Senate and 22 are in the House. The 2000 Hoosier Catholics who make up the ICC Network are organized in parishes, schools and service areas and are actively involved in the making of Indiana laws. Of the 35 Catholic legislators, five are from the Evansville Diocese. Three serve in the Senate, two serve in the House. Leading in years of service among the Senators is Sen. Joseph Corcoran (R-Seymour) who was elected to office in 1980 and represents Hoosiers in six counties including Martin in the Evansville Diocese. He is Chairman of the Public Policy Committee. Sen. Maurice Doll (D-Vin- cennes) served as Represen- tative in the 1978-79 session and returned as a Senator in 1990. He is Ranking Minority Member (RMM) on the Judiciary Committee. Sen. Richard Young (D- Milltown) was elected in 1988 and represents citizens in Dubois, Martin, Spencer and Warrick Counties within the Evansville Diocese. House members from the Evansville Diocese include Rep. Dennis Heeke (D-Durbois) who was elected in 1964 and serves as Majority Caucus Chairman and Rep. Larry Lutz (D-Evansville) who came to the House in 1982 and is Chairman of the Environmental Affairs Committee. The ICC Networkers work with ]CC lobbyist, Dr. M. Des- mend Ryan and take seriously the Bishops call "to become in- formed, active and responsible participants in the political pro- cess." ICC supplements regular media coverage of Statehouse activity with newsletters detail- ing information on ICC issues, including the ICC position based on the Church's social teachings. Networkers then write or telephone those elected officials who speak for them at the Statehouse. "Increasingly, our problems are social in nature," says Dr. Ryan. "To formulate solutions to these problems in a just and humane way requires the active participation of all citizens." He warns against either apathy or despair and calls instead for a renewed faith in the ability of citizens to work within the political process for the com- mon good. He points to the ad- vantage of working with others to enhance the oyerall effec- tiveness as well as to help avoid See CA TtlOLIC page 9 DEWIG BROS. PACKING CO. FRESH MEAT BEEF AND PORK HAUBSTADT, INDIANA