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February 15, 1991     The Message
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February 15, 1991
 

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February 15, 1991 Commentary Mass Readings By FATHER .DONALD DILGER The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana I i The temptation of Jesus: a lesson for all Christians 5 Gospel Commentary for Sunday, February 17, 1991; First Sunday of Lent -- Mark 1:12-15 The oldest and briefest account of the tempta- tion of Jesus in the wilderness is found in the Gospel of Mark. In two sentences Mark tells us how Jesus was forced into the wilderness by the Spirit immediately after receiving that same Spirit in baptism. There in the wilderness Jesus was tempted, tested, tried for 40 days by Satan. Mark notes that Jesus was with the wild beasts and the angels served him. Let's examine this brief nar- rative to see why Mark includes it in his gospel and what he is teaching his community by it. Jesus was forced into the wilderness by the Spirit. A major theme of the Gospel of Mark is Jesus' abandonment by all associated with him. To be forced into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit is only the beginning of that abandonment. As the Spirit of God began this theme, so the final aban- donment will be attributed to the Father at Jesus' death: "My God, my God, why have you aban- doned me?" Of course, that is not the last word. The death of Jesus is followed by the finding of the empty tomb and the message that he is risen. Why did Christian theology concern itself at all with this testing of Jesus? In the preceding I story, the baptism of Jesus, Mark depicts not only the descent of the Spirit upon Jesus but also a voice from heaven declaring to Jesus that You are my beloved Son. There is Old Testament background to this voice. In the Old Testament LYahweh had spoken of the people of Israel as MY SON." For example, Moses was told to report to Pharaoh: "Israel is my firstborn son... Let my son go that he may serve me." The prophet Hosea, speaking of Israel's escape from Egypt, presents God as saying: "Out of Egypt I have called my son," The very words: "You are my beloved Son" are taken out of an Old Testament context in which God addresses the people of Israel. The Christian community to which Mark ad- dresses his gospel is aware of the background of such a text. When they see Jesus depicted as tempted in the wilderness they would immediately connect this scene with the temptation of Israel in the wilderness. The conclusion is that Jesus represents all Israel. While ancient Israel failed the test, Jesus passed the test. We can hardly doubt that this is a correct interpretation, because Mat- thew and Luke, writing some time later.than Mark, considerably expand the temptation scene. They both present a triple temptation in which Jesus uses Old Testament words taken from the context of Israel's testing in the wilderness. The "40 days" of Jesus' temptation would recall to Mark's first readers the 40 years of Israel's wandering and testing in the wilderness. There are also two important Old Testament figures, Moses and Elijah, of whom it is said that they fasted 40 days and 40 nights. Mark does not develop this theme since he says nothing about Jesus fasting. Matthew and Luke, however, pick up on the Moses and Elijah theme and add that Jesus was fasting during those.40 days. In fact, this is their way of leading into their first temptation, that of hunger. When the Old Testament stories about the testing of Israel were written, the idea of a per- sonified evil force, i.e. Satan, had not yet developed. The temptation of Israel was therefore attributed to God rather than Satan. By New Testa- ment times the idea of personified evil had developed and Jesus is said to be tempted, tested, tried by Satan rather than by God. Yet the idea of God's involvement is present in the note that "the Spirit FORCED Jesus into the wilderness" where he was tempted by Satan. Mark closes this brief story with the statement that Jesus was "with the wild beasts and the angels served him." Again we have Old Testament influence from the Psalms. In Psalm 22 God is said to protect from wild beasts and Psalm 91 promises the guardianship of angels to those who cling to the Lord and are threatened by wild beasts. The lesson this story teaches to Christians of all times is best summarized by the Letter to the Hebrews: "Because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Other readings for Sunday, Feb. 17, 1991: Genesis 9:8-15; I Peter 3:18-22 Child welfare caseworkers focus of legislation By ANN WADELTON hundred human service Indiana Catholic Conference workers from throughout the state. Indiana's system for protec- The Senate Committee voted ting abused and neglected unanimously toapproveSenate children was examined and Bill 243 calling for adding 330 found seriously flawed Iy the child welfare caseworkers in Senate Health and Human Ser- the next two years. The bill now vices Committee again this goes to the Senate Finance year. But without an over- Committee where the $18 Whelming outcry from Indiana million price tag will be citizens, few expect significant scrutinized. improvements. That warning came from The same bill traveled Governor Even Bayh at a through the Senate last year November meeting with several with near unanimous support HARP'S THE TRI-STATE'S LARGEST SEAFOOD DISTRIBUTOR Continuous Service For Over 50 Years Select Oysters Clams Orange Roughy Whole Catfish Catfish Fillets Boston White Fish Ocean Perch Fillets Sole Fillets Sword Fish Steaks Tuna Steaks Halibut Steaks Co-Ho-Salmon Frog Legs Raw Scallops Fiddlers Med-Large-Jumbo Raw Shrimp King Crab Legs Rock Lobster Tails Red Snapper Greenland Turbot J :ii,@iiiiiii:h ,I;':% :?i,bid;;,i  ,F ' ii/:':,//;u du : :b' i ;'li4gi,i;i!i; 00i!ii!i00i00iiiiii!ii00iii00iiiiii00i!00ii!iiiii00i00i000000i00iii!0000i!00iEE!0000iiii!i00i!00i00ii!i!00!i00iiiiii00iiii!i00 HARP'S FISH & SEAFOODS 1309 N. GREEN RIVER RD., EVANSVILLE 476-3057 I but died in the House, some charge because of politics, not the merits of the bill. The Department of Public Welfare '92-'93 budget presented to the Ways and Means Committee last week included no money for additional caseworkers in this area. An earlier DPW budget to the State Budget Committee in December '90 called for 173 new caseworkers. Child welfare advocates have been pleading for im- provements in the system for several years. A member of the faculty of the Indiana Universi- ty School of Social Work, Dr. Peg Hess, told legislators of an extensive study conducted on children who re-enter the child welfare system. They found, she Said, that many children "are being seriously harmed" by the system intended to pro- tect them. The Indiana Catholic Con- ference was among many groups voicing support for the bill at the legislative hearing. In a statement distributed to the lawmakers, ICC's Executive Director Dr. M. Desmond Ryan said "In human terms, the cost of the current system is too high. This lack of up-front ser- vice represents a lost oppor- tunity to spare children further abuse/neglect and to prevent family separation." Greg Haifley, attorney with American National Bank Bicknell - Sandborn Vincennes Drive-ln Facilities - Member F.D.I.C. A Full Service Bank II I Legal Services Organization, said that LSO had filed a lawsuit against the state in Oc- tober, 1989, on behalf of clients in the child welfare system. He urged the legislators "to find the political will" to improve the system, rather than having change be the result of Court decree. The statistics are sobering. In 1989, there were 30,000 reports of child abuse and neglect in the state and 31 deaths. In 1990, the figures rose to 50,000 cases and 52 deaths. Since 1979 when the state mandated the reporting of suspected child abuse cases, the number reported has increased 2400 percent. Yet only 60 caseworkers have been added. Individual caseworkersregular- ly have responsibilitly for 70 to 80 cases, but have had as many as 100. Besides  the sheer numbers, Ms Hess reminded lawmakers that "these are often frightened, depressed, serious- ly disturbed children." Among those who testified, no one disputed the good will of the caseworkers. But, bur- nout and high turnover are critical problems, Because of the low salaries, caseworkers are often inexperienced and always overburdened. A foster parent in Marion County, Patty FOR COMPLETE I ELECTRICAL SERVICE FISCHER ELECTRIC INC. RT. 1 ST. ANTHONY I Phelps, told legislators of car- ing for a seven-week-old baby which the caseworker predicted would be adopted within two weeks. But the process took two years and a succession of nine caseworkers. Besides the need to put children in permanent stable homes, Phelps pointed out that it is "cost effective" to .move children through the system by giving them more in- tensive attention. High caseloads prevent the caseworkers from having enough contact with the troubl- ed families to understand the problems or even have time to tudy the child's records and recommend and coordinate ser- vices, according to several who testified. Asked if the proposed reorganization of the state's human services would alleviate the problem, Becky Pryor, ex- ecutive director of the Indiana Advocate for Children program said that the responsibilities of caseworkers are set by both federal and state statutes and while the administration of the departments might change, the duties of the caseworkers would remain the same. Responding to a question, Ms. Hess said that the problem is not unique to this state "but Indiana is slower to react to the crisis." POLE BAR'NS 30x40xlO .............. $2,995 40x60x12 .............. $5,995 Open one side; Erected. For more details, CALL AMISH POST BUILDINGS , 812-2954007