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February 17, 1995     The Message
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February 17, 1995

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1995 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 Commentary i m i Unconditional love: Enemies, thieves, cheats oapel commentary for Feb- "thus you shall purge the evil from development or the creation of jobs. V 19, 1995, Seventh Sunday, your midst." Perhaps rather than follow each of the Lucan Time, Cycle (2, Luke Almost as peculiar and unnat- s last Sunday's beatitudes, is - Luke gives in today's tells us to love our ene- to those who hate us, who curse and of- don't strike back. get it back. anyone who begs from you. stolen from you, don't ask expect- it. Do we have here the blue- economic or financial disaster? Does any- can anyone -- live by such principles? e Otenemies, doing good to those who hate hurt us: these three con- final step of a long biblical process. The and retaliation was with- of Genesis seems to allow for a Law of Moses or the Torah that when it specifies that retaliation only to the degree that one was of- we have this law in Exodus any harm follows, then you shall give life eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, burn, wound for wound, stripe my 19:21 adds: "Your eye be life for life, eye for eye, hand for hand, foot for foot." The ation did not allow forgiveness, for By FATHER DON DILGER COLUMNIST It is this kind of principle that consciously or subconsciously guides people who insist on the death penalty for crimes resulting in death. There is little thought given to the next step in the evolu- tion of revelation as expressed by Jesus in today's gospel. Those who hold vigils against the death penalty find their principle of ac- tion in the Sermon on the Plain by the Lucan Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount by the Matthean Jesus. Decades before they wrote their gospels Paul had already written to the Church at Rome: "Repay no one evil for evil .... Never avenge yourselves but leave it to God's wrath." It would have helped as an example if these three authors had also practiced what they preached, but their writings reveal that it was as difficult for them to love their enemies as it is for us to love ours, to do good to them, and even pray for them. Giving to people who beg is easier. It is unfor- tunate that people are even reduced to the point of begging in a count.ry as rich as ours. For the poor we know, it would be better for us to notice and meet their needs before they have to beg for help. But to let robber or thief t away with whatever they take seems to encourage more of the same. Loaning money without asking for interest, as Luke advises, is still done among family and friends, but is hardly useful as a tool for economic Jesus' counsels, it would be better to emphasize the general thrust of this whole section. Jesus asks for unconditional love and unconditional service of oth- ers. We are to treat others as we wish them to treat us. The latter is called "the Golden Rule" and is not a Christian invention. A great Jewish teacher who was a contemporary of Jesus said this: "What is hateful to you, do not do to anyone else. That is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary." In the fifth century B.C. a great Athenian statesman said: "...if great enmities are ever to be really settled, we think it will gentler feelings, conquering one's rival by generosity." Paul wrote: "Owe no one anything except to love one another." Luke gives usthe ultimate motivation for fol- lowing the counsels of Jesus. Those who love their enemies and do good, who lend without expecting re- turn, are like "the Most High," that is like God our Father who "is kind to the ungrateful and the self- ish." Realizing how much we ourselves are always in need of mercy and forgiveness, we take as our motto Luke's final statement on this matter: "Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful." Even if we are like those very human authors of our Scriptures who did not always practice the love of enemies that they preached, it was their ideal as it must be ours, to practice mercy, forgiveness, and returning good for evil. Readings: I Samuel 26:2, 7.9, 1213, 22.23; I Corinthians 15:45-49. your local pro-life organizations MILLER & MILLER "Funeral Pre'tSianning Since 1940" 424-9274 Congratulations Diocese of Evansville on your 50th anniversary COMPLETE INSURANCE SERVICE" Auto! Home! Fire & Life! Your Personal Service Agent James L. Will Ins. Agency Inc, 1925 W. Franklin Street .... , .... 425-3187 I I Anlsh Reauran and Village All You Care To Eat Buffet Dining e FAMILY STYLE Dt.IXflNG AND A-LA CARTE o CRAFT & GIFT SHOPS o SPECIAL T," SHOPS e A'T/OLL &.'fiN IVfALL e BANQLtE [ RO0k4S AVAILABLE o PRE-ARRANL'ED AIcf, tSH TOURS 486-3977 == =. lust Off Hwy. 50 In Montgomery St. MATTHEW CHURCH MOUNT VERNON Founded 1857 Pastor: Rev. Joseph Swartz DRE: Carole Doherty Youth Minister: Dan and Susanne HaydenMusic Minister: Tom Scheller Padsh Secretary: Jacqueline DeMunck Total familln: 502 Total parishioners: 1,343 Principal: Sister Christine Kempf, O.SB. Member of the WEST EVANSVILLE DEANERY I I ii I I I II I I I II Medical Arts Pharmacy 3700 Bellemeade Avenue Phone 477-1532 Donald Gutzweiter City-Wide Delrvery I I Duncan's Riverside Pharmacy Bob and Norma Duncan Corner Riverside and Govemo Evansville 422-9981 III II II Stratman's Pharmacy City-Wide Delivery 413 Locust Street John and Judy Stratman 425-5293 III I I PAUL'S PHARMACY Paul Mayer, Owner 2107 W. Franklin St, 425-4364 I [ I Plaza Pharmacy Newburgh Plaza Shopping Center Fast Prescription Service Ken and  Hacker 853-7141 Oak Hill Pharmacy Prescaption Specialists Hwy. 62 and N. Weinbach Ave. LARRY SCHULTHEtS, Prop. 425-4422