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April 8, 1994     The Message
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April 8, 1994

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1994 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 ,,,, ,,,,j, r',,mmen,..-. ........... Thomas the doubter: Role model for our time commentary for 1994, Octave Day of or Second Sunday of Cycle B, John 20: 19-31. reading begins appearance to the after his death. In this of John, Jesus to Mary Magdalene. this he ascended to his Fa- to bestow the upon his gathered dis- this happened on the the day of the resurrec- at least such is the case in the 3 gospel. The first part of today's appearance of Jesus to his disciples and of the Holy Spirit upon them is the for Pentecost Sunday. Lot us exam- of the story on Pentecost Sunday than now. part of today's gospel is the story of , Thomas. John notes that Thomas was an interesting name usually as meaning "Twin." Thomas was absent first appearance. When the others who had wounds, Thomas replied proof. Seeing and touching were Jesus returns eight days present. Jesus invites him to feel Wounds and the wound in his side. Thomas act of faith: "My Lord and my God." rentarks that Thomas believed because he Jesus, but blessed are those who believe without such proof. By FATHER DON DILGER COLUMNIST We know that a story like that of Thomas the doubter was not preserved and included only in this gospel for the sake of history or bi- ography or entertainment. Every story in the gospels has a religious purpose -- to strengthen or con- firm the faith of believers. A close study of the Gospel of John con- vinces us that the community for which this gospel was written was not a unified community. Disagree- ment over who and what Jesus was had caused many to leave this Christian community or Church congregation. Was Jesus another prophet, or even the prophet? Was he a new Moses? Was he Messiah, i.e., the awaited descen- dant of King David who would restore the political empire to the Jewish nation? Or was he all of the above and more? The "more" is the point of the story of doubt- ing Thomas. The congregation of John was not unified over the matter of Jesus' relationship to God. This gospel is saturated with testimony to Jesus, not only as prophet, Messiah, a new Moses, but as Son of God in a way that no one else had ever been son of God. The term "son of God" was applied to other figtres of ancient Israel. The great King David was called "my son" by God in one of the Psalms. The judges of ancient Israel were called "sons of God" in another Psalm. The whole people of Israel is referred to as "my son," that is, as son of God in a way unique among the peoples of the earth. John goes infinitely beyond the above kind of sonship. In his theology Jesus is Son of God equal in divinity to the Father God. In John names and func- tions predicated or said of Yahweh can be and are said of Jesus. Most clearly Jesus is given the divine name, "I AM," not only once but many times. The gospel is saturated with other references to the di- vine character of Jesus. John uses Old Testament images to demonstrate this point. LiRe Yahweh Jesus is creator, the one who feeds his people, the Good Shepherd, the one who alone has the right to do on the Sabbath what only God can do, that is give life and final judgment. In the first chapter the wit- ness of John the Baptist already refers to Jesus as Son of God. In this final chapter John is intent on having his readers understand the depth of meaning in that term. Thus Thomas addresses Jesus directly as ly Lord and my God." Negative reaction to that affirmation of faith is as prevalent today among people who consider them- selves practicing Christians as it was in the time of John's gospel. Is it consistent for anyone who be- lieves that our Christian Scriptures convey divine revelation to reject what is the most important point about Jesus made in those same Scriptures? Thomas' profession of faith spoke for a believing Christian community of the first century. If we consider our- selves as the continuation of that faith community, we can only concur with Thomas' faith in Jesus as "My Lord and my God." Do we need understanding or proof?. "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe." Who are we to limit God's power and love in becoming one of us so intimately that we can affirm of that person =My Lord and my God?" Other readings: Acts 4:32-35; I John 5:1-6. world around us: A season of renewed perspective  CAVEP, birds outside my blossoms on our cherry tree, every living thing is bursting forth with new clar- ity and color. During the Easter season it strikes me that all of nature sings "Al- Catholic schools by 00lng the Tradltmn Card. each purchase you make using the Tradition Card education. Call 464-3322 or 1-800-777-3949 for details. Issued by Citizens Bank. SERVICE GUIDE ATCANAL Heat Co. Inc. Sales & Setce "IV & 2-Way FM 1016 W. FRANKUN STREET PHONE (812) 423-7849 Herman Motor Co. NEW OR USED CARS Whem the be  m me TrKIO up ot down 2001W. _n__ 423-7759 M&S Fire & Safety iuip. Co. Inc. Ov J rs  and iNmnce in the Tstats ST0 E. Frlnklin 424-3863 leluia" as it emerges from its winter gloom in the new life of spring. Part of the message of the resurrection is that you and I are also called to rise. As Jesus called Lazarus out from his tomb, so he calls us out of the tombs of our past to proclaim his word anew. It is a season of renewed perspective. Browsing through best buyers. the evening newspaper, it is The tone of the article glori- obvio hat tJtd i'Id na new perspective, turing and selling weans of Last week, a small article caught my eye because it pro- claimed that the United States has become the leading coun- try in the exportation of weapons. It listed Saudi Ara- bia, Iran and Israel among our MILLER & MILLER "Funeral Pre-Planning Since 1940" 424-9274 DIOCESAN DIRECTOR OF YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULT MINISTRY The Diocese of Evansville is seeking a full-time Diocesan Director of Youth and Young Adult Min- istry. Responsibilities include: diocesan liaison to pastors and pastoral life coordinators (73 parishes) on all aspects of youth and young adult ministry; advisor to parish coordinators on pro- gram design and implementation; on-going lead- ership development and in-service training. Must be a practicing Catholic, have a master's degree, a minimum of three years experience in administration and the ability to work collaboratively Send resume to: Youth and Young Adult Ministry Search Committee The Chancery P.O. Box 4169 Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Deadline: April 15, 1994 Position available: August 1, 1994 war. Do we really understand what we are doing as a nation? Does our right hand know what our left hand is doing? Where is the Christian per- spective? For the past few months our nation has been involved in a serious debate about health care reform. As Catholics we have a special concern about the care of human life --the young, the old, the handi- capped and the unborn. The Catholic bishops have set four priorities which they hope will shape the health care debate. They are: universal coverage, respect for life, respect for the religious and ethical values of individu- als, institutions, and delivery networks involved in the health care system, and restraining cost The Indiana Catholic Confer- ence joins in this effort and urges you to contact your sena- tars and repremtatives in con. gress with the message to "Say yes to true universal coverage and say no to abortion as a man- dated health care benefit." Letters do make a differ. ence! Senators Lugar and Coats and Representatives Mc- Closkey and Hamilton can be addressed either at the U.S. Senate or House of Represen- tatives, Washington, D.C. 20510. As Easter people we are called to proclaim the message of our risen savior, to witness to the pre.ence of Christ in our world. Here is an opportunity to respond to our call