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February 8, 1991     The Message
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February 8, 1991

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February 8, 1991 Commentary The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5  Mass Readings By FA'rHER .DONALD DILGER Simon Peter's mother-in-law: Jesus alone and pursued Gospel Commentary for Sunday, Feb. 10, 1991, Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B. Mark 1:29-39 The gospel continues Jesus' healing activity begun in last week's gospel. Jesus began his activi- ty with a teaching session in the synagogue. The effectiveness of his teaching was demonstrated by an exorcism in the synagogue on the Sabbath. The exorcism was Mark's way of showing his readers that the battle was joined between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. Generally speak- ing, at the time of Jesus, sickness was attributed to the influence of demons. The cures that Jesus undertakes next are a further illustration of the ongoing battle between the two kingdoms. Jesus leaves the synagogue with the four disciples he chose earlier, two sets of brothers, Simon (Peter) and Andrew, James and John. They are still in the city of Capernaum, Galilee, a city that becomes a center for Jesus' ministry. Accor- ding to Mark, Simon and Andrew have a house in Capernaum, although the Gospel of John tells us that Bethsaida was the city of Andrew and Simon. Jesus and his four disciples go to the house. Simon, who is obviously a married man, has a sick mother-in-law at the house. They tell Jesus about her. Jesus goes over to her, takes her by the hand and her illness is cured. To prove the com- pleteness of the cure the mother-in-law gets up and serves a meal for the the guests. This is the only instancve in the gospels that we learn of Simon's marriage. However, St. Paul writes in his first Letter to the Corinthians that he has as much right to take along a Christian wife on his missionary journeys as do "the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas." "Cephas" is the Aramaic word for "Peter," the name which Jesus bestowed on Simon. So it seems that marriage rather than celibacy was the lifestyle of early Christian missionaries including those closest to Jesus. Word gets around of the healing of Simon's mother-in-law. Soon, Mark writes, the whole city was gathered at the door with all their demon- possessed and sick. Jesus cured all but then need- ed a break. Mark says he withdrew into a "desert." There is no desert in the area of Caper- naum. Either Mark didn't know the geography of Palestine or we have to translate "desert" as a lonely place. Jesus needed time for prayer. It is unusual for Mark to note Jesus praying. That is a well-known characteristic of Luke's gospel, where Jesus is depicted as having three major activities, praying,. eating and preaching. In the meantime, Simon Peter and the three other disciples have begun to bask in the fame of Jesus and can't understand why he went into hiding. Mark writes that "they hunted him down." Simon told him: "Everyone is looking for you." Luke, using Mark's gospel as a source, comes upon this story and edits Simon and Com- pany out of it. He attributes the search for Jesus to "people." Luke knows that Mark intends no com- pliment to Simon Peter by this story. It is Luke's custom to cast the activity of the disciples in a bet- ter light than Mark did. What does Mark intend to say to his readers by this little story about Simon? A major theme of Mark's gospel is that everyone misunderstood Jesus, even those closest to him. Eventually this would lead to Jesus being abandoned even by his disciples when he needed them most. Simon's pur- suit of Jesus is the first instance of this misunderstanding. In chapter two the religious authorities begin to accuse Jesus. In chapter three Jesus is alienated from his own family, and so on. The climax of Mark's theme of abandonmeht is reached on the. cross when Jesus cries out to his Father, "My God, my God, why have you aban- doned me?" Simon tried to capitalize on his relationship to Jesus. It was a way to power and prestige. James and John were just as bad as is shown later in the gospel when they approach Jesus to ask him for the first places in his kingdom. Later in the gospel, Simon rebukes Jesus for his rejection of fame and worldly glory. In today's gospel Jesus replies to Simon that he must go on with his work ill other places. The lesson for us is that the work of the kingdom of God is done in a non-glorious way, without seek- ing fame, prestige and honor. It is the daily grind of life lived as a Christian'that furthers the kingdom of God. Other readings for Sunday, Feb. 10: Job, 7:1-4, 6-7; I Cor 9:16-19, 22-23. Sarto, Catholic Center activities director named By PAUL LEINGANG terest more people in utilyzing Message Editor Sarto Retreat House during daytime hours on weekdays. George-Anne Ryder, 49, has She said she also wants to been appointed Director of Sar- publicize the facilities that are to Retreat House and Catholic available, "to let more people Center Activities, by Msgr. know what we have. It is a very Kenneth R. Knapp, vicar nice facility." general. Ryder's appointment Since 1986, Ryder worked as was effective Jan. 28. Shesuc- systems administra- ceeds Father Michael Hamel tion/program coordinator at who is currently on medical American General Finance, leave from the diocese. Evansville. Ryder said she wants to in- From 1980 to 1986, Ryder "Funeral Pre:Planning Since 1940" Miller & Miller 424-9274 JASPER SER VICE AND SHOPPING GUIDE Buehlers I.G.A. "THE THR,0000' HOUSEWIFE'S SOURCE OF SAVINGS" QUALITY FOODS and MEATS Also Huntingburg and Oakland City KREMPP LUMBER CO. WHOLESALE BUILDING MATERIAL DISTRIBUTION & GENERAL CONTRACTING YARD CONSTRUCTION 482-1961 482-6838 JASPER BECHER & KLUESNER FUNERAL HOME Downtown Chapel, 214 E. 7th North Chapel, 33rd Newton JASPER- HUNTINGBURG 30 Car Wash Centers 3 Automatics 12 Self-serve Bays JASPER LUMBER CO. COMPLETE BUILDING SERVICE Ph. 482-1125 RT. 4, JASPER GEORGE-ANNE RYDER was executive director of the Volunteer Action Center/Infor- mation and Referral Center, Evansville. Other positions held by Ryder included consultant for the Continuing Eduation Department of the University of Southern Indiana; interim ex- ecutive director of the Henderson-Union-Webster County Tuberculosis Associa- tion, and research specialist at St. Mary's Medical Center in Evansville. Her community service has included work with the United Way, Leadership Evansville, the YWCA, Catholic Charities, Women in Community Service, the Evansville-Vanderburgh __j Peoples I L. 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