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February 10, 1995     The Message
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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 Commentary -- The sermon on the plain: The beatitudes of Luke Goepel commentary for Feb- 12, 1995, Sixth Sunday, Time, Cycle C, Luke ,226. We are accustomed to hearing Sermon on the of the Gospel of Matthew's Sermon on begins with a brief by the Nine "Blessed are the, etc." well known is that the on the Mount occurs only i. In con- Luke sets simi- SOmetimes identical material into a "Ser- on the Plain." While Matthew wrote that Jesus mountain and preached, Luke tells us mine down from the mountain and esus also begins with a brief in- which is followed not by nine beatitudes are then followed by four con- IN FATHER DILGER COLUMNIST sist that both Matthew and Luke 'correct biography of Jesus rst spoke a version of beati- mountain, then came down and spoke the plain. Such nonsensical expla- longer needed. Today we correctly authors use some traditional. them from the Old Testa- own theology, then put them Matthew on the on the "great level place." "He came down with on a great level place with a great crowd of disciples and a great mul- titude of people. The multitude is then described as consisting not only of Jews but also of people from Gentile territory, Tyre and Sidon. This is Luke's universal in- terest speaking, that Jesus' love and teaching go out to people of all kinds, not just to those of his own race. He heals them and teaches them without distinction. Nowhere in Luke do we read statements re- stricting Jesus only "to the lost sheep of the house of Israel," as we read in Matthew. The beatitudes themselves, four in number, are addressed only to disciples of Jesus, just as they are in Matthew. Luke's beatitudes are more direct than those of Matthew. Matthew's are in the third person, "they', while Luke's are in the sec- ond person, "you". Thus Matthew wrote: "Blessed are the poor in spirit." Luke writes: "Blessed are you poor." Only in the final beatitude does Matthew switch to "you." Luke consistently has Jesus speak- ing directly to his disciples in the second person. Some translations of the beatitudes use the words "happy" or "fortunate" instead of "blessed," and this may be a better way of translating the Greek "makarios', but traditional translations are not eas- ily abandoned. Who are declared happy or fortunate by Luke? The poor, the hungry, those who mourn, those who are hated, abandoned, cursed. Strange, is it not? Luke seems to say that such conditions are a sign of God's favor, of being chosen by him, since he adds: "Rejoice in that day and leap for joy...for your rdward is great in heaven." Then Luke takes on wealth and satisfaction with his four woes. Who are condemned? The wealthy, those who have plenty now, who laugh now, and who are spo- ken well of by all. A somewhat gloomy religion, al- most puritanical, that is, if it feels good and makes you happy it must be wrong. Was Luke some beady-eyed fanatic, or what is he talking about? Luke is looking at the situation in his own Christian community. There must have been many poor, suffering, abandoned people among them. He wants to assure them that there is hope. He also sees how those who are rich and living comfortably have no concern whatsoever for relieving the dis- tress of the poor and suffering. This too need not be so and will not be so in the kingdom of God. But the Lucan Jesus also says in another context: "The king- dom of God is within you" or "...among you." Luke's beatitudes therefore point out the injustice of the sit- uation, while the woes are an appeal to the comfort- able not to be comfortable as long as there are poor and suffering among them. This is a hard lesson in harsh words reflecting the cold reality of Luke's com- munity. The kingdom of God among you" will not tolerate such inequality and injustice. Luke's beatitudes and woes should not be un- derstood as either extolling poverty or condemning wealth, but as a consolation, then an appeal for equality and justice. As there is no blanket eulogy of poverty, so there is no blanket condemnation of wealth. At the end of Jesus' ministry Luke will give the prime example of sharing with the poor. It is the wealthy Zaccheus who says: "The half of my good things I give to the poor." To which Jesus replies: "Today salvation has come to this house." Readings: Jeremiah 17:5.8; I Cor 15.'12, 16.20. IlL I I JOHN MANGIN Owner i!i!? ': i , ii! ii! [an (Busch) Sickbert of Jasper will cele- Wedding anniversary with a Mass of 9 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 12, at St. Joseph er will be served for invited guests .of C. An Open House will be held from 1 to and relatives; the couple requests no married Feb. 12, 1955, at St. Mary by Benedictine Father Alfred Balty. of three children: Lester Sickbert of Jasper, and Larry Sickbert, who have three grandchildren. Mr. Sickbert Laminates and Mrs. Sickbert is a Golden Jubilarians Henry "Bub" and Mary (Halter) Holscher of rural Vin- cennes will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a reception Feb. 18 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Vincennes. The reception, which will be hosted by their children, is open to all friends and rela- tives. The couple requests no gifts. They were married Feb. 7, 1945, at St. Thomas Church by Father Cornelius Sahm. They are the parents of 10 children: Janet Eddel- man and Betty Jo Thompson of Livermore, Calif.; Mary Ellen Hodurski of Montgomery, Ala.; Anita Wintzer and Lisa Holseker, both of Yakima, Wash.| Kathy Dobbs of Lawrenceburg, Ind.; Lori Memering of Columbus, Ind., Jim Holscher of Terre Haute, Ind., and Henry Holscher and Mark Holscher, both of Vincennes. They have 21 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. AUTO RATES INCREASING? TEENAGE DRIVERS? Call us today for discounts Good student discounts Auto/Home discounts Good Driver discounts INSURANCE AGENCY 464-5993 DENNIS K. FELDHAUS Mater Dei Class of 70 The Decorating Corner 21 East South Washington, IN 47501 Bus: 251-7,'4 Home: 25+3087 iq! 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