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February 23, 1996     The Message
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The Message m for Catholics of Southwestern/ndiana "- Commentary-- i The temptation of Jesus: Interpretation through the Old Testament Fo" GOspel Commentary for 0rUary 25, 1996: First Sunday lent.. C cle A Matthew 4:1-11 / . Following the pattern he found Matthew temptation of his bap- version of the tempta- He states that the wilderness forty by Satan. He was and the angels That is the whole story. feels a need for B{N FATHER DILGER COLUMNIST expansion of the story ; the needs of the Christian community for writing. The key to understanding the fMatthew's version is not only to note the of three specific temptations, but also the made in the Marcan story. What es? TIess is imnortant as are the forty In the r Wilderness. Matthew retains both. For a Christian these two references will re- arer of the Israelites' tempta- wilderness for forty years. Matthew's is concerned with the role of the Spirit descended upon Jesus at his baptism. Spirit expels or forces Jesus into the of the abandonment Not so in Matthew, where the up into the wilderness, a much reminiscent of the Israelites God into the wilderness. us tempted forty days. not only being tempted but also and forty nights. This connects both Moses and Elijah who fasted forty days and forty nights in the wilderness These two men repre- sent for readers the Torah (Law of Moses) and the prophets. In Matthew's theology Jesus fulfills both Law and prophets, a theme that will recur in the transfigura- tion scene in Matthew 17. Jesus' extended fasting also sets the stage for Matthew's first temptation scene and he adds: "And afterward he was hungry." Mark had noted Jesus being with the wild beasts, a reference to Psalm 22, which begins with the ultimate cry of abandon- ment: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Thus Mark continues the theme of Jesus' total abandonment. Matthew will have none of this and omits the reference to Psalm 22. In all three temptations Jesus is addressed by the devil as "Son of God." This not only ties the temptation story to the voice from heaven at Jesus' baptism but reinforces what Matthew has already implied, that Jesus represents all of Israel in the temptation scene. The people of Israel are fre- quently referred to as God's son in the Old Testa- ment, and that God disciplined them through temp- tation as a man disciplines his son (Deuteronomy 8:2-5). In Matthew's theology the Church is the new Israel. Where ancient Israel failed, the new Israel is tempted in Jesus' temptations and is warned against temptations afflicting the life of the Chris- tian community and of the individual Christian. Matthew attempts to connect the three tempta- tions of Jesus with the three major temptations of Israel in the wilderness. Those three had to do with hunger, with thirst, with idolatry. In Matthew's story Jesus is confronted by the devil to turn stones into bread. Jesus responds with a quote from Deuteronomy 8:3, where the authors of that book describe the manna that took away the Israelites' hunger as symbolic of the teaching of Moses(the Torah. By this quote Matthew indicates the teach- ing of Jesus is the true bread that God gives, a theme that recurs in Matthew 16:512. It is Jesus' teaching that will overcome the temptations of the Church and of the individual. To what specific teachings of Jesus does Matthew refer? The temptation to turn stones into bread is a warning against over-reliance on material goods. Of these things Jesus taught: "Do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, what you shall drink, or what you shall wear.., your heavenly Father knows you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be yours as well." Jesus' victory in the second tempta- tion, to jump from the top of the temple, is a warn- ing against external display. Matthew 23 confronts this temptation in the rejection of titles, perks and privileges. The third temptation, to idolatry, is a warning against the temptation to seek domination and power over others. Matthew confronts this temptation in the rejection of Mrs. Zebedee's re- quest that her two sons be given positions of power in Jesus' kingdom. Jesus responds: "It shall not be so among you. Whoever would be great among you must be your servant.., even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve .... " These are temptations of the Church as an in- stitution. At the beginning of Lent we must apply them to ourselves in questions such as these: Do I have more material wealth than I need? Do I reflect in my life the humility and simplicity of Jesus? Do I consciously or subconsciously strive for power over others? Readings: Genesis 2:7.9; 3:1.7: Romans 5:12.19 lnes Bicknell Sandborn ity, Princeton, Patoka r F.D.I.C. D'O'W.N.T.O.W.N T. VINCENNES. IN 4759' (812) 254-2641 BUILDING FSB Washington rg and Residential . P.O Box 405 Haubstadt 'IN 47639 1-800'.766.2787 "" 7:00 P.M. /Baked Slaw, Drinks, Golden Jubilarians Cletus "Bud" and Rosemary (Lutterbach) Muensterman of Evansville celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving Feb. 17 at Sacred Heart Church. The couple was married Feb. 19, 1946, at St. An- thony Church by Father Herbert Muensterman. They are the parents of 12 children: Angie Memmer, Carol Burgdorf, Clare Jeffries, Paul Muensterman, Carl Muen- sterman and Gerard Muensterman, all of Evansville, Theresa Bosaw of Martinsville, Mary Muensterman of In- dianapolis, Rebecca Farrior of Ettrick, Va., Steven Muen- sterman of Lawtey, Fla., and Matthew Muensterman of Chicago. Their son, Clement, is deceased. They have 23 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Their grandson, Timothy, is deceased. Mr. Muensterman retired from the Vanderhurgh County Highway Department in 1994; Mrs. Muensterman is currently employed in the Vanderburgh County Treasurer's Office. Golden Jubilarians Anthony and Eileen (Behme) Ruminer of St. Joseph will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary on March 5. The couple was married March 5, 1946, at St. Boniface Church. They are the parents of five children: Ann Mc- Donald of Mount Vernon, Jane Ruckman of Newburgh, Brad Ruminer and Kent Ruminer, both of St. Joseph, and Linn Brown of Evansville. They have eight grandchildren. Mr. Ruminer retired from SIGECO in 1985 after 40 years of service. Mrs. Ruminer was employed at Sere'el, Kent Plastics and as secretary at St. Joseph School, Vander- burgh County. iii i i i iii iii i i iiij I i TF S I Kimball International i v Box 68 Montgomery, Indiana 47558 |, ; "'lVn;na j Donald I. Traylor ] President Phone: 486-3285