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March 13, 1998     The Message
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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana March Motives for repentance: Unexpected death; unproductive By FATHER DONALD DILGER Columnist Gospel Commentary for March 15, 1998: Third Sunday Of Lent: Cycle C: Luke 13:1-9 Aswe reach the midpoint of Lent, the Church has chosen a gospel reading emphasizing the peril under which all live, the unexpected end of physical life and the danger of an unproductive life. Only Luke gives the three examples Jesus cites in warning his contemporaries to repent. The first example speaks of some of Jesus' fellow citizens, Galileans, who had gone south to Jerusalem in the province of Judea to offer sacrifices at the temple. One may Wonder why they could not offer sacrifices in Galilee. The answer is simple, at least since the late seventh century B.C., sacrifices were restricted to the temple in Jerusalem. Only there could one offer sac- rifices. The synagogues that had sprung up all over Galilee and Judea were places of prayer and study, not places to offer sacrifice. Luke states that the prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilate, mingled the blood of these Galileans with the blood of their sacrifice. In other words, Pilate's sol- diers killed the Galileans. Pontius Pilate was prefect of Judea from 18-36 A.D. There is no other reference in any other first-century source to this attack on Galilean pilgrims in Jerusalem. We do know from other first-century A.D. sources that on several occa- sions Pilate had to intervene to protect public safety or to smash a brief rebellion against Roman authori- ty in Palestine. For example, when Pilate designated funds from the temple treasury to build an aqueduct to bring a greater water supply to Jerusalem, some Jews protested this use of sacred money. They marched in protest to Caesarea, the city from which Pilate usually administered Roman authority over Judea and Galilee. Pilate ordered his soldiers in dis- guise and armed to mingle with the crowd of pro- testers. Then he ordered the protesters to disperse. They replied with insults and refused to disperse. At a signal from Pilate to his disguised and armed sol- diers within the crowd, the soldiers attacked and killed many. There were other such incidents in vari- ous places and various groups. Because of Luke's tendency to confuse historical events, we cannot be certain of the historicity of the event he cites here. Nor is historical accuracy needed. The point is made that death can be sudden and unexpected. Therefore all must be in a state of repentance at all times. In Luke's portrayal, the first example of unex- pected death is proposed to Jesus by others. One assumes that behind their story is the principle that bad things happen only to bad people. In other words, when people suffer catastrophe, it is a pun- ishment for their sins. Such was the popular view in some circles. Jesus answers that the slain Galileans were no worse sinners than all the other Galileans. He adds, "Unless you repent, you will also perish." Then Jesus counters with his own story. Eighteen men were killed when the tower of Siloam collapsed on them in Jerusalem. Does this mean they were worse sinners than other inhabitants of Jerusalem? Jesus replies to his own question, "No, but unless you repent you will also perish." The 18 who died were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The time of death is uncertain. Be ready! The third example for the need of repentance stresses not so much the suddenness of unexpected death, but the danger inherent in an unproductive life. A man planted a fig tree in his orchard. It never produced fruit. The man told his gardener he had been expecting fruit for three years, but got nothing. i  He ordered him to cut it down. It was took up productive space while producingr The gardener begged the owner to wait. lie, gardener), would dig around it, fertilize it, another chance. If it produced would be cut down. Some ancient the Gospel of Luke add these words those who have ears to hear, take heed!" A time of grace was given same way Luke portrays the time od of grace during which his people are to repent, to prepare for judgment, to God's intervention in the world, kingdom of God. Luke writes his the time of Jesus. The kingdom of by many first century Christians did not Jesus did not return as had been Luke extends the time for repentance time. The new horizon is not so much Jesus "on the clouds of heaven," as it is sent possibility of an end to life. The becomes the symbol of any h  is spiritually unproductive through or laziness. The Galileans died perhaps - r . "tarlts u of foreign oppression. The 18 rahab1 Jerusalem died because they were place at the wrong time. The fig tree, die because it has not used its growth through productivity. It was no death at the hands of sot calamity that revealed the presence revealed rather by one who opportunity for growth through change of mind toward a change Readings for 3rd Sunday of Let 8a, 13-15; I Corinthians 10:1-6, 1 i, ii iii ,i i l UNITED SOUTHWEST BANK III II .,.1-1'nmln, I WASHINGTON-SHOALS-LOOGOO'TE E i ii I i I lu u I COMPLETE INSURANCE SERVICE Auto! Home[ Fire & Life! Your Personal Service Agent u i Hi-Tech Sheet Metal Inc. Residential, Industrial & Commercial Heating & Cooling Installation Sales & Service 1422-92421 Operated by Michael and Potricia Koch 15 S. Third Avenue, Evansville u I I lu James L. Will Ins. Agency Inc. 1925 W. Franklin Street 425-3187 ii I i I , i RUXER FORD - LINCOLN - MERCURY DUBOIS COUNTY BANK MEMBER OLD NATIONAL BANCORP Member FDIC YOUR FIVE STAR SERVICE BANK Van Evansville, ST. BENEDICT ANNUAL Catholic Elementary School Principal Corpus Christi School Evansville, Indiana FISH FRY Six FRIDAYS IN LENT. February 27; March 6, 13, 27; April 3 Your Choice: Icelandic cod (fried or baked) or whole catfish fiddlers Plus two sides, drink and dessert Homemade slaw, baked beans, potato Salad or chips For kids: Cheese pizza $1 per slice Adults $5 per person Serving 5 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. New School Cafeteria 530 S. Harlan ii i i ii i I I i Corpus Christi School, a State of indial accredited Elementary School (K-8) in Indiana, with a Enrollment of 174 Faculty of 14 is accepting applications for the 1998/1999 School Year. Salary commensurate with education and experience, n CaliC Candidate must be a practicing Rorn,a. , and hold or be eligible for a valid I nol''" Elementary School Administrative LicenSe' For application please contact: Mrs. Phyllis Bussing, Director of Catholic Schools Office, Diocese P.O. 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