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April 3, 1998     The Message
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4 : The Message-- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Luke's special touch: Consolation, healing, reconcil By FATHER DONALD DILGER Columnist Gospel Commentary for April 5, 1998: Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday): Cycle C: Luke 22:14  23:56 If a gospel author's theology is revealed through his writing, so are the concerns that are closest to his heart. We can see how throughout the Gospel of Luke more than any other gospel, Jesus reaches out to the most neglected people of the society of his time. In the other gospels, as in Luke, Jesus reaches out to the physically, mentally, and spiritually handi- capped. In none of them, however, is there such an emphasis as we find in Luke on the poor, shepherds, lepers, tax collectors, Samaritans, widows, and non- Jews. All of these groups, in one way or another, were thought of as sinners or tolerated on the fringes of society. One might say that these are Jesus' con- cerns rather than those of Luke. The gospel authors, however, would have chosen material or traditions from Jesus' life which also reflected their own con- cerns. Comparison with the other three gospels con- vinces that Luke went far beyond the others in his concern for society's lower rungs. In his story of the sufferings leading to the death of Jesus, Luke, more than the other gospels, portrays a Jesus who even in his suffering consoles, heals, and reconciles. This must be Luke's own character revealed in a supremely compassionate Jesus. Little wonder that early Christian tradition found it so easy to attach the name of "Luke the beloved physi- cian" mentioned in Colossians 4:14 to the gospel now known as the Gospel of Luke. On this Passion Sunday; when the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke is read in Christian gatherings, it may be helpful to us sinners to emphasize Luke's Golden Jubilarians Leroy and Rose (Straub) Weiss of Evansville will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 2 p.m. April 19 at SL Joseph Church, Vanderburgh County. A recep- tion will follow until 5".30 p.m. in the school cafeteria. Relatives and friends lure welcome. The couple requests no gifts. They were married ApiCal 3, 1948, at St. Francis Xavier Church, Poseyville. They are the parents of eight children: Diane Altstadt, Thomas Weiss, Tammy Schroeder and Monte Whitehead, all of Evans- ville, Elana Hold of Columbus, Ohio, Brenda Curtis Hosick of Lewisville, Texas, and Karen Schenk of Louisville. Their son, Freddie, is decaed. They have 20 grandchildren, and four great- grandchildren. Mr. Weiss, a World War II veteran, retired from Whirlpool Corporation in 1984 after 44 years of service. Mrs. Weiss, formerly employed with Standard Oil Co., has volun- teered as a teacher's aide at St. Joseph School, Vanderburgh County, since 1983. special touch of compassion through an enumeration of examples that occur only in this gospel. Let us begin with Jesus' gentle correction of the disciples' quarrels over who was the greatest among them. Jesus tells them that true greatness consists not in domination but in being servant to all. Then he commends them for persevering with him through- out his ministry. For Simon Peter Jesus has a special word. Even though he predicts Peter's betrayal through public denial, he assures Peter of his prayers and his later conversion, even that he will become the strength of the other disciples. In the Garden of Gethsemane, while Jesus suffers spiritual agony, the disciples are caught sleeping only once instead of three times as in Mark and Matthew. Nor is Peter given a special scolding for sleeping as in Mark. Instead, Luke excuses all the disciples for sleeping, "They slept out of sorrow." One incident in the passion narrative of Luke doesn't fit into this pattern.of Jesus' special compas- sion. Instead, we see the compassion of Jesus' Father. In Mark Jesus prays desperately, falling flat on his face, demanding to be relieved of the suffering about to come. In Luke, however, Jesus kneels with dignity and speaks more gently to his Father. In Mark and Matthew there is absolutely no response from the Father. Only in Luke's story does a loving Father answer his Son. An angel from heaven is sent to strengthen Jesus in hishuman suffering. Thus not only is Luke's portrayal of the Son more compassion- ate; but even his portrayal of Jesus' heavenly Father is compassionate. In all four gospels an unnamed disciple, or Peter, mutilates or cuts off the ear of the high priest's ser- vant at the arrest of Jesus, but only in Luke does Jesus heal the ear. Only in Luke, after Peter's public denial of Jesus, the Lord turns and looks at him. Peter leaves the courtyard and weeps bitterly in repentance. Only in Luke is there a reconciliation between Pilate and He Luke, on the way to Calvary for Jesus takes time to turn ask of Jerusalem grieving ovc Luke, when Jesus is being nailed tothe say, "Father, forgive them they do." And only in Luke version, and a promise e criminals crucified with Jesus. last cry of desperation in the Gos God, my God, why have you forsaken Lucan Jesus says instead, "1 commend my Spirit." Even gentle touch surpasses the other trays the Jewish people on sorrow. In Luke the Jewish people The tradition in Mark and Matthew ! ciples abandoned him. Luke ly contradict this tradition but he abandon Jesus. He paints them scene at the death of Jesus, his acquaintances.., stood at these things." Thus the passion narrat not the wrenching peration, hopelessness, and even final cry of despair. Instead, the after having healed, peace with all around him and Father. The purpose of having Churches join in the reading of Sunday is to have all share in a ence that flows from the This reading in common" tance, forgiveness, reconcil healed. .: Readings: Isaiah 50:4-7; 22:14 -- 23:56. Estk Ca JC Mort. 207 SCHNEIDER' ' 'INC. 118 W. Franklin St. Evansville, IN 47710 Heang 812-428-2665 Jr ing FAX 424.4149 Refrigeration Commercial Kitchen Equipment Sales, Parts & Service . Vemtk)n Plumbing Repair CUSTOM MADE INDOOR WEA i ZIEMEI00 i i I Four Convenient Locations EAST CHAPEL 800 S. HEBRON AVENUE Now available 1998 Edition of the Yearbook of the Catholic WUE Diocese of Evansville Names and phone numbers of parishes and schools, i priests and religious, deacons, seminarians, church staff, Catholic Center offices, and more. Available at the Catholic Center for $7.50, or by mail for $9 (includes shipping and handling). Send requests to: 1998 Yearbook, The Catholic Center P.O. Box 4169 " Evaflsville, IN 47724-0169