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March 4, 1994     The Message
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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 11 Cornmentary - An attack on the Temple: Jesus, the new Jerusalem the temple do not agree in details, Psahn verse from "has consumed" to "will con- Third Sunday of B, John 2:13-25. gospel story for this Sun- ily referred to of the temple. This esus is found in all four Matthew, and Luke ; of the temple at public ministry COmes to Jerusalem the his public three gospels ofJesu s on the temple is I cause for his arrest. to remove Jesus' at- as the proximate cause of his it almost at the beginning of his aStead of only one visit to Jerusalem as gospels, this is only the first of erusalem in John's gospel. All the the attack on the temple took BCN FATHER DILGER COLUMNIST SOme of the events of Jesus' life de- gospels are thought to be more sym- it is generally agreed that SOme kind of attack on the temple and was indeed the immediate cause of cleansing of the temple should end of Jesus' ministry as in Mark, Luke. John may have many reasons beginning. One reason may be room for the greatest of Jesus' resurrection of Lazarus. John uses the proximate or immediate Cause OUr four narratives of the cleansing of 4 there must have been differing tra- ditions about what actually hap- pened. If we recall that our four au- thors were writing 40 to 70 years after the death of Jesus, and that even Mark, Matthew, and Luke disagree as to the sequence of events on this occasion, we must conclude that the story had been shaped not only by various tradi- tions but by Old Testament state- ments. As John relates the story, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for Passover soon after his first mira- cle, the changing of water to wine at Cana. He enters the temple precincts, the outer courts, and there he finds merchants engaged in the legitimate business of selling sacrificial ani- mals and changing money for pilgrims to have the right coinage to pay the temple tax. Jesus makes a whip of cords, drives the merchants and their ani- mals out of the temple, and overturns the tables of the moneychangers. Jesus' action closes with the statement: "Take these things away. You shall not make my Father's house a house of trade," a refer- ence to Zechariah 14:21. In the Gospel of John actions of Jesus always have some symbolic meaning, a meaning clarified by some statement of Jesus that precedes or fol- lows the action. Several clarifying statements fol- low the action here. John writes that Jesus' disci- ples remembered that it was written: "Zeal for your house will consume me," a quote from Psalm 69:9. Parts of that Psalm were often used by early Christian theologians to describe Jesus' suffering and death. John has changed the tense of this sume." This is an indication that, like the other gospels, it was indeed Jesus' attack on the temple that ultimately consumed him, i.e. brought about his arrest and execution. Next the religious authorities ask Jesus for a sign or proof of his authority to engage in such an attack. His answer: "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." As usual in John, such a strango statement is understood in a fundamen- talist way by Jesus' dull-witted straight men. This is John's opportunity to say what the attack on the temple really means. Jesus is the true temple of God. He replaces the temple in Jerusalem. When John was writing that temple had been destroyed by the Roman army 20 to 30 years earlier. The interpretation that Jesus replaces the temple is in agreement with a general thrust of the first 11 chapters of this gospel. We think that John was writing for a community of Jewish Christians who had been excommunicated from mainline Ju- daism for their faith in Jesus as Messiah and Son of God. John sets out to demonstrate to them that what they have in Jesus is superior to and replaces everything they had in their former way of life. John's theology often expresses strong antagonism toward Jews and Judaism. Though we accept his affirmation of Jesus' messiahship and divine son- ship, we must abstract from John's antagonism. Ju- daism is our mother. We may sometimes disagree with our mother but we must still love and honor her. Other readings: Exodus 20:1.17; I Corinthians 1:22.25. God for kids! Commentary By MSGR. CLINTON HIRSCH had been on the Lord's multiplication of loaves hungry crowd. Mention was made of how many in are so badly off that they have nothing to eat, even clean water to drink, and that many at aCtually starving. the little boy who served the Mass came up, from his pocket alongwith a piece of I3ar, as I recall) and asked: "Can you send boy or girl?" ia ray eyes, I accepted his gift, and gave it to a day, along the way. Thank God for kids! 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Box 4169, Evansville IN 47724-0169 Stewardship bV You shall not covet" is perhaps a difficult 15 DAYS! July 21 -- A, Round trip aiffare from Evansville Accommodations at First Class hotels Most meals Escorted by professional tour director . Comprehensive sightseeing throughout Aft hotel service charges and local taxes Rome is one of those places that dominates the world scene. It is not only the home of Pope John Paul II whom we will see,. but it is also one of the great cities of the world. We will visit churches and walk in the catacombs where Christians gathered to pray and worship God. We will see the Sistine Chapel and the magnificent artistry of Michaelangelo. We'll also visit Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri; Assisi, Venice, Verona, Stresa, Pisa, and Florence. Come join me for what is sure to be a wonderful adventure. Sincerely, Father Joseph Zillak I would like to know more about your tour. Please send me addi- tional information. Name Address MAIL TO: Fr. Joseph Zlllak 625 Frame Rd. Newburgh, IN 47630 City State/ZIP